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Executive Summary

ABBOTT's PATIENT-CONTROLLED ANALGESIA SYSTEM WILL SELL FOR ABOUT $3,000, according to an Abbott spokesman. The company plans to market the system via a variety of mechanisms, including rentals, so that outright purchase of the PCA System is "just one option," he said. Abbott introduced the PCA on May 16 at the American Assn. of Critical Care Nurses convention in Dallas, on schedule with the firm's earlier-announced plan to bring the product on line in the 1984 second quarter. The device consists of a portable, computerized pump with a chamber which holds a prefilled syringe. To use the device, the physician programs the pump, setting the total amount of drug a patient can receive over a fixed period of time, as well as the dose. Morphine is the primary drug for use with the system, Abbott says. The company will shortly introduce a Demerol cartridge as well, the spokesman said. The patient activates drug delivery by pressing a button at the end of a cord attached to the pump, releasing a preset dose of the drug through the syringe and into the patient's I.V. line, the company explained. I.V. administration, as opposed to intramuscular injection, provides "nearly instant relief," Abbott maintains. Abbott is targeting the complete PCA system -- pumps, analgesics, I.V. administration tubes and other disposables -- at a $200 mil. annual U.S. market, the firm said. Clinical trials to test the pump were conducted at seven U.S. medical centers: Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit; Stanford University Medical Center; University of Utah Medical Center; Hermann Hospital in Houston; the University of Alabama in Birmingham; Johns Hopkins Medical Center; and the Veterans Administration Hospital in D.C. The PCA System did not require FDA marketing clearance since all the components already were cleared for marketing, Abbott says. Abbott will manufacture the PCA at its hospital products plant in Houston. Abbott expects the PCA to be favorably received as a cost-effective device, saying that "the system assures patients more effective pain management, reduces hospital labor costs, and results in more efficient drug use." The PCA system includes a locking cover on the pump to prevent tampering with the dose setting or prefilled syringe, the company notes.

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