Abbott has announced it will repurchase $5 billion worth of the company’s shares in a bid to strengthen its stock, which has seen a 12% drop this year.

The announcement follows previous repurchase initiatives. Of these, only $400 million is remaining.

According to a statement released by Abbott, “the purchases may be made from time to time as market conditions warrant and subject to regulatory considerations”.

The company’s management would determine the timing and amounts of any purchases.

There was no time limit and the initiative may be discontinued at any time, the company said.

An Abbott spokesman told Bloomberg News: “Given Abbott’s growth prospects and current market conditions, the time was right for a new, larger repurchase programme. It’s a significant buying opportunity.”