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Abbott Gets Equipment Sales Delay

November 23, 1999

CHICAGO (AP) _ Abbott Laboratories says it has received a partial reprieve from the government allowing the company to sell certain diagnostic equipment made in its North Chicago facility through Jan. 10.

Under a consent decree signed in early November, Abbott agreed to pay a $100 million fine and stop selling more than 100 of its products until it corrects repeated violations of federal quality rules in North Chicago. The ban originally was to take effect within 30 days, or in early December, to allow buyers to line up alternative sources.

The change allows Abbott to continue to sell certain medically necessary diagnostic products made in North Chicago until Jan. 10, because users needed more time to obtain alternative test methods. Those include tests that detect the AIDS virus and hepatitis in donated blood.

Other elements of the consent decree remain unchanged.

In a separate development, Abbott announced it has acquired five drugs in Glaxo Wellcome Inc.’s anesthesia business. The drugs _ four muscle relaxants and a short-term pain killer _ had annual sales of more than $50 million last year.

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