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MARION MERRELL DOW ANNOUNCES PLAN TO POSITION COMPANY FOR FUTURE, INCLUDING REDUCTION IN COSTS

 KANSAS CITY, Mo., May 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Marion Merrell Dow Inc., (NYSE: MKC) which last month reported substantially lower sales and earnings for the first quarter of 1993, today announced plans to accelerate projects that the company believes will help sales in the near term and to reduce expenses and U.S. staffing levels, while continuing to position Marion Merrell Dow for long-term success.
 "We are facing some very tough business conditions, particularly in the United States. At the same time, market forces and the move toward health care reform are permanently altering the way pharmaceutical companies do business," said Fred W. Lyons, Jr., president and chief executive officer. "While our vision remains focused on long-term growth, we clearly need to realign our organization to reflect current business conditions. With sales and earnings for 1993 running well below 1992 levels, we cannot take a 'business as usual' approach."
 The company plans to continue a high degree of commitment to Research and Development, while focusing R&D resources on shortening timelines for key near-term products and on assuring the fastest possible development of high-potential treatments expected to reach the market later in the decade. The company also will continue a previously disclosed strategy of seeking acquisitions to enhance its competitive position in a rapidly changing global health care environment.
 In addition to ongoing steps to build sales by bolstering support for selected current products, the company said it is working to fill a near-term "gap" in its Research and Development pipeline by refocusing its search and in-licensing efforts on products far enough along in the development process to come to market in the next two to three years. The company believes its R&D pipeline holds a number of promising potential products for the second half of the decade.
 Marion Merrell Dow said management also is moving aggressively to reduce operating expenses, reviewing its resources and projects to ensure that money is spent only for purposes that meet an important customer need, improve the company's competitive position or help prepare for future opportunities.
 As part of this cost-saving effort, the company said it will review and realign its U.S. work force. In addition, the company said that executive compensation for 1993 will be substantially lower than in prior years, a selective hiring freeze has been implemented, and department-by-department studies are being conducted to better align staffing levels with current business requirements. The company does not have an across-the-board numerical target; conclusions from the departmental studies are expected no later than the end of the third quarter.
 "We care deeply about our people, but the reality is that we'll be a considerably smaller company in sales and earnings for 1993 than we were in 1992 -- and our business cannot justify the current U.S. staffing levels," Lyons said. "With careful study to be sure we make the right moves for the long term, we are realigning our resources. Some areas may get more people and some may get fewer, but overall we will have a smaller U.S. organization. In keeping with our Core Values, any associates whose positions are eliminated will be treated as fairly as possible and will be provided with appropriate counseling and financial support."
 Marion Merrell Dow is a research-based global pharmaceutical organization dedicated to improving the longevity and quality of human life. The company is involved in the discovery, development, manufacture and sale of pharmaceutical products worldwide. In 1992, Marion Merrell Dow reported sales of $3.3 billion, earnings per share of $2.44 before cumulative effect of accounting changes and an investment of $465 million in Research and Development.
 -0- 5/4/93
 /CONTACT: David M. Thompson or Richard M. Johnson of Marion Merrell Dow, 816-966-4000/
 (MKC)


CO: Marion Merrell Dow Inc. ST: Missouri IN: MTC SU:

MC -- DV008 -- 4515 05/04/93 16:37 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 4, 1993
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