Thread regarding Abbott Laboratories layoffs

This is such a mess

According to a New York Times report, Abbott Laboratories — the manufacturer of rapid tests for COVID-19 — told its employees to take apart millions of tests and throw them into garbage bags that were to be thrown away. Shortly afterward, Abbott also announced layoffs, shuttered the only other plant making the test in Illinois and dismissed a work force of 2,000.

Now amid a new surge in infections, steps the company took to eliminate stock and wind down manufacturing are hobbling the company's ability to meet the current surging demand, the newspaper reported.

Demand for Abbott's 15-minute antigen test, BinaxNOW, is again soaring as children and people return to school, work and their normal lives, and pharmacies such as CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens, have been selling out of the at-home version, according to the New York Times.

Abbott Laboratories, however, released a statement to The Columbus Dispatch, saying the company has worked in the best interests of public health throughout the pandemic and will continue to do so.

"We have not destroyed any finished BinaxNOW product, nor have we destroyed any usable test components needed by the market that could have been donated. In fact, because Abbott maintained usable test components, we're now able to scale up," according to the statement.

"In May, as vaccinations climbed and summer arrived, demand for testing plummeted, and public health guidelines told vaccinated people to refrain from testing unless they had symptoms. At that time, Abbott had significant amounts of finished test kits in inventory to supply expected demand," the company said.

Abbott said it also made the decision to store individual components, such as reagent bottles, cardboard packaging, swabs and nitrocellulose strip, so they'd be available when it needed to scale back up.

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