Ross Products to Launch Infant Formula Supplemented With Two New Fatty Acids

COLUMBUS, Ohio, -- The Ross Products Division of Abbott Laboratories has announced plans to launch an infant formula supplemented with two fatty acids that function as nutritional building blocks in brain and eye development. The U.S. launch is targeted to take place early in 2002. The two fatty acids -- DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ARA (arachidonic acid) -- are found in small amounts in breast milk. Infants are also able to make these fatty acids from the essential fatty acids in their diets.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently had no objections to the addition of a source of DHA and ARA in term infant formulas in the United States. Ross is in final discussions with the FDA to market an additional Similac(R) With Iron product supplemented with DHA and ARA. Internationally, Abbott has been selling infant formula products supplemented with DHA and ARA for some time.

The health and development of breastfed infants form the gold standard of infant nutrition. Two of the largest studies published to date have shown that term infants fed either today's Similac(R) With Iron or Similac(R) With Iron supplemented with DHA and ARA showed visual and cognitive development like that of breastfed babies.(1)(2)

"We are always listening to health care professionals and parents, and some of them have told us that because DHA and ARA are in breast milk, they want a Ross product supplemented with DHA and ARA," said Ann Bair, vice president, infant formula marketing. "By introducing an additional Similac(R) With Iron product with added DHA and ARA, we are responding to this request. Parents can be reassured that today's Similac(R) With Iron supports visual and mental development like that of the breastfed infant."

"As a leader in infant nutrition, Ross is looked to by health care professionals and parents for sound nutrition information and guidance, as well as advances in nutritional products," said William C. MacLean Jr., M.D., vice president, Medical and Regulatory Affairs. "There are important differences in infant formulas. For example, studies show today's Similac(R) With Iron provides greater calcium absorption and greater bone mineral density than the other leading formula. In addition, both Similac(R) With Iron and Similac(R) With Iron supplemented with DHA and ARA support growth and visual and mental development similar to that of breastfed babies. Outcomes from some studies suggest formulas from other manufacturers may need added DHA and ARA to achieve these same visual and mental development results that are available in today's Similac(R) With Iron."(3)

Ross Products has been a leader in infant nutrition for more than 70 years. Ross' Similac(R) With Iron is the first choice infant formula of doctors. Ross is dedicated to conducting the research that ensures that formula-fed infants receive the highest quality products to meet their nutritional needs.

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals, nutritionals, and medical products, including devices and diagnostics. The company employs approximately 70,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries. In 2000, the company's sales and net earnings were $13.7 billion and $2.8 billion, respectively, with diluted earnings per share of $1.78.

Abbott's news releases and other information are available on the company's Web site at .

(1) Auestad N, Halter R, et al. Growth and Development in Term Infants Fed Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: A Double-Masked, Randomized, Parallel, Prospective, Multivariate Study. Pediatrics. 108:372-381, 2001.

(2) Auestad N, Montalto MB, et al. Visual acuity, erythrocyte fatty acid composition, and growth in term infants fed formulas with long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids for one year. Pediatric Research. 41:1-10, 1997.

(3) Birch EE, Hoffman DR, Uauy R, Birch DG, Prestidge C. Visual acuity and the essentiality of docosahexaenoic acid and arachidonic acid in the diet of term infants. Pediatric Research. 44:201-209, 1998.

SOURCE Abbott Laboratories

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