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MARION MERRELL DOW COMPLETES ACQUISITION OF AMERICA'S LARGEST GENERIC DRUG COMPANY

 KANSAS CITY, Mo., Oct. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Marion Merrell Dow Inc. (NYSE: MKC) today announced that it has completed the acquisition of the nation's largest generic drug company from the privately held Rugby- Darby Group Cos., Inc., a strategic step that builds upon Marion Merrell Dow's recognized leadership in marketing pharmaceuticals to the growing U.S. managed care market.
 The generic business, to be known as The Rugby Group Inc., will do business as Rugby Laboratories. In 1992, Rugby was ranked No. 1 in volume in the U.S. generic industry, supplying products that filled an estimated 87 million generic prescriptions. Rugby also was No. 1 in dollar sales among U.S. generic firms, with net 1992 sales of approximately $280 million.
 "Our vision is to continue to help millions of patients by offering important, cost-effective prescription drugs, and Rugby Laboratories offers the broadest line of generic drugs available in the U.S. market," said Fred W. Lyons, Jr., president and chief executive officer of Marion Merrell Dow. "The acquisition of Rugby will enable us to further enhance our excellent relationships with our many important customers. "As growing demands on the health care system have led to increased costs, Americans have begun looking for ways to contain those costs. Pairing Marion Merrell Dow's unique, branded pharmaceuticals and Rugby's broad range of quality generics will help our customers to better meet both their patients' therapeutic needs and the payors' economic needs," Lyons said.
 The acquisition is part of Marion Merrell Dow's strategy to position itself for a new era of health care arising from changes in the marketplace, as well as federal and state reforms. The company previously announced a realignment of its U.S. business organization to better meet the needs of customers, particularly in the managed care market, where independent surveys show Marion Merrell Dow has a consistent reputation for superior service.
 Headquartered in Atlanta, Rugby will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Marion Merrell Dow. Richard Frankovic, president and chief operating officer of Rugby, will continue to provide leadership for the generic business. Edward W. Mehrer, Marion Merrell Dow's executive vice president, chief administrative and financial officer, will take on the added role of chairman of the board of Rugby.
 "We are very pleased with the record established by Rugby's management and associates," Mehrer said. "Rugby has become the largest generic company by earning a reputation among customers as the best generic company, and we intend to continue that kind of top-quality service."
 Rugby employs approximately 770 people. In addition to its Atlanta operations, Rugby has six state-of-the-art distribution centers and regional offices across the country; a Research and Development facility in Lakeview, N.Y.; and manufacturing plants in Monroe, N.C., and Bayamon, Puerto Rico.
 Rugby currently offers approximately 2,400 products, including various sizes and dosage strengths of most major prescription drugs that are available as generics. It has a number of Abbreviated New Drug Applications (ANDAs) under development for potential future generic products.
 "Marion Merrell Dow is still very much in the business of providing patented, unique medications for cost-effective treatment of patients," Lyons said. "We see an opportunity to make these important brand-name products even more attractive by offering them along with a broad line of generics from Rugby. This will enable us to enhance our current presence in the U.S. market and to participate in the growing generic segment of the market."
 Customers of Marion Merrell Dow and Rugby will see no immediate changes in procedures for orders, inquiries and billing. Not included in the acquisition are the Rugby-Darby Group's veterinary, medical, dental and consumer marketing groups.
 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.
 -0- 10/5/93
 /CONTACT: David M. Thompson or Richard M. Johnson of Marion Merrell Dow, 816-966-4000/
 (MKC)


CO: Marion Merrell Dow Inc.; Rugby-Darby Group Cos. Inc.; The Rugby
 Group Inc. ST: Missouri, Georgia IN: MTC SU: TNM


EH-MC -- DV001 -- 8725 10/05/93 09:08 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 5, 1993
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