Pay up, compensation down for Abbott’s White

By Bruce Japsen
Posted March 15 at 4:30 p.m.

Abbott Laboratories Chairman and Chief Executive Miles White received a 2 percent raise last year, to $1.89 million, though his bonus and other stock awards dipped amid a turbulent year for the North Chicago-based drug and medical product giant.

Abbott, which failed to win  Food and Drug Administration approval for certain prescription drugs, valued White’s total compensation package at nearly $25.6 million in 2010, down from $26.2 million in 2009, according to the company’s annual proxy statement filed Tuesday afternoon with the Securities and Exchange Commission.. The total includes stock awards, bonus, salary and other compensation.

Abbott last year pulled its diet drug Meridia from the U.S. market. It was linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, and members of a government panel also said it offered patients little weight loss benefit. The company also decided not to bring a cholesterol pill to market and in January decided to hold off seeking approval of a psoriasis drug, that, according to some reports, shows risks to the heart.

White has complained of a difficult regulatory environment and tougher approval standards from the Food and Drug Administration. But company observers also have said some of Abbott’s drugs are not that innovative compared to what is on the U.S. market.

In January, Abbott said it would cut 1,900 jobs, largerly from its U.S. operation, with 1,000  in Illinois.

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