The last few years have brought big changes for Abbott Laboratories ( ABT), the biggest being the spinoff of the firm's pharmaceutical business into AbbVie ( ABBV). Yanking the lucrative pharma segment out of Abbott's results provided investors with a much more distilled view of the firm's actual business and gave management a serious goal of shoring up its profitability in the very near-term. Pharma was a hugely profitable crutch for ABT, but its absence will ultimately make the firm a lot more competitive.
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