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 KANSAS CITY, Mo./PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Marion Merrell Dow Inc. (NYSE: MKC) and SmithKline Beecham (NYSE: SBH) toda announced that, effective Jan. 1, 1994, U.S. marketing of Nicorette(R) nicotine gum, the first prescription aid for smoking cessation in the United States, will be transferred to SmithKline Beecham Consumer Brands, the partnership created by the two companies in 1992.
 SmithKline Beecham Consumer Brands will market Nicorette initially as a prescription product, but the agreement anticipates the potential conversion of Nicorette to over-the-counter status, which would make it available to consumers without a prescription. Currently, Nicorette is under study to determine its suitability for over-the-counter status. The companies are working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration toward making Nicorette available over-the-counter, although (as with any product) there is no assurance of regulatory approval.
 "Moving Nicorette into the partnership follows the strategy laid out in 1992 to maximize both companies' presence in the growing U.S. consumer market by pooling our current and potential future over-the- counter products," said Fred W. Lyons, Jr., president and chief executive officer of Marion Merrell Dow. "We hope to benefit the American public's health by making Nicorette more broadly available to smokers who want to kick this harmful and costly habit."
 SmithKline Beecham Consumer Brands will take over marketing Nicorette regardless of its prescription or over-the-counter status. The partnership's medical sales force began co-promoting Nicorette this month, in combination with Marion Merrell Dow's sales organization, to allow the partnership to gain experience with Nicorette. Until Jan. 1, 1994, all correspondence, orders or inquiries should continue to be addressed to Marion Merrell Dow.
 Nicorette has been available by prescription in the United States since 1984 in a 2 mg. dosage and since June 1992 in a 4 mg. dosage. It aids smokers in "kicking the habit" by temporarily replacing the nicotine they would otherwise receive from cigarettes, thus reducing the physical withdrawal symptoms most individuals experience when they quit smoking. These symptoms, which include craving, irritability, difficulty in concentrating, anxiety and restlessness, constitute a major reason smokers find it difficult to quit. Once former smokers are stabilized on Nicorette, they gradually reduce the dosage. Patients should completely wean themselves from nicotine as part of this therapy.
 Marion Merrell Dow also markets Nicoderm(R), America's most frequently prescribed nicotine patch, as a smoking cessation aid. Nicoderm is not involved in the current transaction with SmithKline Beecham Consumer Brands.
 The SmithKline Beecham Consumer Brands partnership, based in Pittsburgh, was created in 1992 by SmithKline Beecham and Marion Merrell Dow to market over-the-counter products such as Tums(R), Contac(R), Oxy(R), Aquafresh(R), Gaviscon(R), Cepacol(R), Citrucel(R) and Os-Cal(R).
 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.
 SmithKline Beecham is one of the world's leading healthcare companies. Based in London, SB discovers, develops, manufactures and markets human and animal pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter medicines and clinical laboratory testing services.
 -0- 8/19/93
 /CONTACT: David M. Thompson of Marion Merrell Dow, 816-966-4000; or Jeremy Heymsfeld of SmithKline Beecham, 215-751-5166/

CO: Marion Merrell Dow Inc.; SmithKline Beecham ST: Missouri, Pennsylvania IN: MTC SU:

MC -- DV005 -- 4489 08/19/93 16:39 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 19, 1993

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