The company gave nod for the repurchase from its common stock, which is believed to replace the company’s previous $5bn program declared in October 2008 and closed recently.

In addition to this, the board has approved a quarterly common dividend of 14 cents per share, marking the 358th consecutive quarterly dividend that Abbott has been paying since 1924.

Abbott said it usually makes use of strong cash flow by investing in its business and return cash to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.

The company has so far delivered a sum of $31bn to its shareholders through dividends and share buybacks in cash.