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Breakthrough Combination Therapy for Hepatitis C Launched In France

COSTA MESA, Calif., May 17 /PRNewswire/ -- ICN Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: ICN), a research-based global pharmaceutical company, said today its licensing partner Schering-Plough Corporation (NYSE: SGP) has commenced sales in France of its REBETOL(R) (ribavirin) Capsules. REBETOL(R) is for use in combination with Schering-Plough's interferon alfa-2b injection for the treatment of chronically infected hepatitis C patients.

In Western Europe, REBETOL(R) is also on the market in Spain, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom.

As many as five million people in Western Europe and just over one percent of the population of France are chronically infected with the hepatitis C virus, according to the World Health Organization (Dec. 1999). The infection is the leading cause of liver disease in Western Europe and the most common reason for liver transplant. Schering-Plough has exclusive worldwide rights to market oral ribavirin for hepatitis C under a license from ICN. Ribavirin, discovered and developed by ICN, is a synthetic nucleoside analog with broad-spectrum antiviral activity. Ribavirin is currently marketed by ICN as VIRAZOLE(R) for the treatment of RSV and in a variety of other dosage forms for at least one of 10 indications in 44 other countries.

In the United States, Schering-Plough markets REBETRON(TM) Combination Therapy containing REBETOL(R) (ribavirin, USP) Capsules and INTRON(R) A (interferon alfa-2b, recombinant) Injection for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C. It also markets the combination therapy in Canada and Argentina. Some four million Americans are infected with the hepatitis C virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). ICN manufactures, markets and distributes a broad range of prescription and non-prescription pharmaceuticals throughout the world under the ICN brand name. Additional information is also available on the corporate website at