Guidant ( GDT) has outlined new quality-control measures for its heart-apparatus manufacturing, but the company acknowledges there's still room for progress.

The medical-device maker, which has recalled thousands of instruments in recent months for various issues, posted a document on its Web site Thursday, saying it has established a quality policy, a quality systems assurance team and groups devoted to product evaluation and performance.

The company adds that it will consult experts for periodic audits at least once a year for the next four years.

Guidant's quality-assurance plan follows a Food and Drug Administration investigation. The Indianapolis-based company says "opportunities for improvement in several areas," have been noted, but adds that its performance in recent inspections shows it's "developing a culture of attention to quality and compliance."

Guidant plans to change the existing audit procedures at all of its cardiac rhythm management sites. "There are improvements to our existing established procedure that could further enhance the effectiveness of our audit process," the company wrote in a letter to the FDA's Minnesota district office last month.

The company says it has completed employee training on revised quality control procedures at its St. Paul, Minn.; Dorado, Puerto Rico; and Clonmel, Ireland, facilities.

Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ) is in the process of buying Guidant in a $25 billion deal. Because of Guidant's recent product recalls, there was some speculation that J&J might want to restructure the deal. However, so far it hasn't, and the acquisition price remains $76 a share.

J&J has been reluctant to say much of anything about the Guidant transaction, but on a recent conference call after its earnings, executives said they would "consider alternatives under our merger agreement," a comment that precipitated a selloff in Guidant's shares.

Still, the deal is set to close by the end of October, pending a decision by the Federal Trade Commission. Guidant's stock was recently changing hands at $62.54.

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