Abbott posts 34% spike in Q2 profits
Abbott Laboratories has posted a profit of $1.32 billion, for the second quarter, which ended June 30, compared with $989 million for the same period in 2007.

Worldwide sales of prescription drugs jumped 17 percent to $4.1 billion. Sales of the the Abbott Park, Ill.-based Abbott’s popular rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira jumped 48 percent to $1.1 million. Also, the company's recently-acquired cardiovascular drug Niaspan saw sales climb 14 percent to $194 million, compared to the same fiscal quarter in 2007.

The company reported that its worldwide medical products sales increased 14.7 percent, driven by 17.2 percent growth in global diagnostics sales, and 15.7 percent growth in global vascular sales, which the company attributed to a favorable currency exchange rate overseas.

In particular, the company said its vascular products sales increased 16 percent to $490 million, with sales of coronary stents increased 30 percent to $217 million. Abbott's new drug-eluting stent, Xience, was approved for the U.S. market in early July, while product has already been on the market in Europe for some time.

“Based on our first-half results, as well as our outlook for the remainder of the year, we're raising our 2008 forecast for both sales growth and earnings per share. We're also confirming our expectation for continued double-digit earnings-per-share growth in 2009,” said Miles D. White, chairman and CEO of Abbott.