Abbott Issued $5 Billion in Stock Buybacks While Tainted Formula Sickened Babies, by Jake Johnson

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Baby formula maker Abbott Nutrition used the massive windfall profits it accumulated between 2019 and 2021 to enrich shareholders amid a deadly bacteria outbreak, according to financial documents and whistleblower testimony unearthed by The Guardian.

Jake Johnson's avatarFinancial documents and whistleblower testimony spotlighted by The Guardian on Friday show that the U.S.-based baby formula producer Abbott used the massive windfall profits it accumulated between 2019 and 2021 to enrich shareholders, even amid a deadly bacteria outbreak that has triggered nationwide outrage and contributed to a formula shortage.

“Abbott detected bacteria eight times as its net profits soared by 94% between 2019 and 2021,” The Guardian’s Tom Perkins reported. “And just as its tainted formula allegedly began sickening a number of babies, with two deaths reported, the company increased dividends to shareholders by over 25% while announcing a stock buyback program worth $5 billion.”

Rakeen Mabud, the chief economist at the Groundwork Collaborative, told the newspaper that “Abbott chose to prioritize shareholders by issuing billions of dollars in stock buybacks instead of making productive investments.” …

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