In late 2002, a sensational article in the New York Times depicting James Quinn’s experience and death following implantation with the AbioCor artificial heart raises questions about Abiomed’s handling of the informed consent process related to its clinical trials. At the same time, investor confidence in the company wanes due to the apparent stall in the clinical trial’s progress. This B case illustrates Abiomed’s handling of the situation, along with commentary from onlookers including those close to Quinn’s case, as well as medical ethicists and financial investors and analysts. An analysis of Abiomed’s choices reveals the company’s apparent strategy as one of downplaying the significance of the Times article and reinforcing its message to investors to protect the company’s falling stock price. The B case also reveals how the company changed the 30-day “quiet period” that had become a lightning rod in the media.
Darden Business Publishing – University of Virginia