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RHONE-POULENC RORER FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST MARION MERRELL DOW ALLEGING FALSE AND MISLEADING PROMOTION

 COLLEGEVILLE, Pa., Feb. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Rhone-Poulenc Rorer (NYSE: RPR) today filed suit against Marion Merrell Dow (NYSE: MKC) under the Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. 1125) for promotional misrepresentation and dissemination of materials disparaging to its Dilacor XR(R) (diltiazem HCl) hypertension medication.
 According to Rhone-Poulenc Rorer, the suit stems from Marion Merrell Dow's refusal to cease or correct recent promotional activities which state that Dilacor XR(R) is less bioavailable (potent) than their Cardizem(R) (diltiazem HCl) CD product.
 According to RPR officials, "Dilacor XR(R) offers safe and effective treatment of high blood pressure at a cost comparable to other leading calcium channel blockers used for hypertension, and it's average wholesale price is 17 percent to 57 percent less on a milligram-for- milligram basis than Cardizem(R) CD or Cardizem(R) SR. That's a real advantage for physicians and patients alike."
 RPR has marketed Dilacor XR(R) since June, 1992 based on a complete New Drug Application submitted to the Food and Drug Administration. "RPR believes Dilacor XR(R) offers the appropriate strength of diltiazem, the convenience of once-daily dosing and cost savings based on its average wholesale price," continued RPR officials. "With rising healthcare costs as a major issue, RPR has acted responsibly in making Dilacor XR(R) an affordable choice for hypertension."
 RPR's clinical research shows that when dosed appropriately, diltiazem is effective in reducing blood pressure while retaining a low side-effect profile.
 Dilacor XR(R), Cardizem(R) SR and Cardizem(R) CD compete in a $1.7 billion annual market in the U.S. for calcium channel blocker medications prescribed to treat hypertension. Approximately 61 million Americans are afflicted with hypertension.
 In its suit, Rhone-Poulenc Rorer alleges that materials being distributed directly to physicians and pharmacists by Marion Merrell Dow's sales force, and associated promotional activities by the company, constitute serious violations of existing federal law on promotional activities by pharmaceutical companies.
 "Marion Merrell Dow's actions also defy a previous settlement between our two companies in August, 1992, in which MMD acknowledged that Dilacor XR(R) and Cardizem(R) CD offer similar bioavailability and agreed not to make any promotional claims to the contrary. The only rationale supporting MMD's recent activities is their concern that Dilacor XR represents a real competitive threat to their dominance of the diltiazem hypertension market," stated company officials.
 Dilacor XR, Cardizem(R) SR and Cardizem(R) CD all offer safe and effective treatment of hypertension. Dilacor XR utilizes the patented Geomatrix(R) drug delivery system. This system delivers consistent 24-hour blood levels of the drug, allowing once-daily dosing, which is important in the long-term treatment of hypertension. Company officials emphasized that "physicians and pharmacists should be presented with accurate information about all three products so they can make a decision on the appropriate therapy for their patients."
 Rhone-Poulenc Rorer Inc. is a global pharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development, marketing and manufacturing of human pharmaceuticals. The company reported sales of $4.1 billion and invested more than $500 million in research and development in 1992.
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 Cardizem(R) SR and Cardizem(R) CD are registered trademarks of Marion Merrell Dow Inc.
 Dilacor XR(R) is BC rated. Pharmacists must obtain physician authorization to substitute Dilacor XR(R) for Cardizem(R) CD.
 /delval/
 -0- 2/12/93
 /CONTACT: Bob Pearson of Rhone-Poulenc Rorer, 215-454-3872/
 (RPR MKC)


CO: Rhone-Poulenc Rorer; Marion Merrell Dow Inc. ST: Pennsylvania IN: MTC SU:

JS -- PH021 -- 6253 02/12/93 15:42 EST
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Date:Feb 12, 1993
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