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SEARLE ACQUIRES CZECH MEDICAL PRODUCTS DISTRIBUTION COMPANY

 SEARLE ACQUIRES CZECH MEDICAL PRODUCTS DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
 CHICAGO, Sept. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Searle announced today an agreement to purchase Sanitas, a government-owned medical products distribution company with headquarters in Prague, Czechoslovakia.
 The purchase, arranged through the Czech government, makes Searle the first U.S. investor in a health care company in the central European republic.
 According to Ronald L. Goode, Searle's president of international operations, the selection of a Czech company for establishing a Searle presence in Central Europe is based on the favorable economic, social and health care environment in that republic.
 "Dominant" Czech Distributor
 Sanitas is the dominant distributor of health care products in the Prague area, with a significant market share throughout the Czech Republic and annual sales of approximately $66 million. Currently, Sanitas, which has around 500 employees, distributes products either imported or purchased from local firms.
 Future Expansion Plans
 In describing future plans for Sanitas, Dr. Goode said the Czech company "has a strong management team in place and enjoys excellent business relations throughout Czechoslovakia.
 "Searle strongly believes in the potential of this new business venture to significantly contribute to the health and well-being of the people of Czechoslovakia and, in time, of the whole region of Central Europe," Dr. Goode said.
 Charles C. Sirgiovanni, Searle's senior vice president of international operations, added that combining "our world-wide pharmaceutical expertise, financial resources and management skills with the Sanitas team will strengthen the company's market base and expand business in Czechoslovakia as well as other European markets."
 He said that a separate business unit would be established within Sanitas for the registration and marketing of Searle products, which include medicines for cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disease, disorders of the central nervous system, and infectious diseases.
 Sirgiovanni also said that consideration is being given to the distribution of popular Western over-the-counter health care products through the Sanitas system.
 Searle did not reveal the terms of the acquisition, except to say that the transaction in part is being handled through the Czech government's "voucher system" that will provide the opportunity for Czech citizens to become shareholders in the company.
 Searle is a research-based company that develops, manufactures and markets pharmaceutical products worldwide. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Monsanto Company (NYSE: MTC).
 -0- 9/9/92
 /CONTACT: Jack Domeischel, 708-470-6720, or Jeff Newton, 708-470-6280, both of Searle/
 (MTC) CO: Searle; Sanitas ST: Illinois IN: MTC SU: TNM


TS -- NY053 -- 7530 09/09/92 13:00 EDT
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Date:Sep 9, 1992
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