Abbott Freezes U.S. Salaries to Help Finance Arthritis Drug Launch

From Reuters

Abbott Laboratories Inc. said Tuesday that it would freeze the salaries of its U.S. employees for the next six months to help finance the launch of its promising rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira.

The decision will affect 34,000 workers.

Humira's launch comes at a crucial time for Abbott, which needs a blockbuster drug to offset expected losses as a number of drugs come off patent.

"We've cut budgets as another way to counterbalance our 2003 investments," Abbott spokesman Chris Bona said, referring to the company's previously announced expansion of its manufacturing and marketing efforts for Humira.

He said the company, based in Abbott Park, Ill., would give more details Thursday when it reports quarterly earnings.

Humira got federal regulatory approval months earlier than expected. Abbott foresees Humira sales of as much as $1 billion a year.

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