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Oriola to distribute AstraZeneca pharmaceuticals in Finland as of June 2002

The wholesale and distribution of AstraZeneca products in Finland will be taken charge of by Oriola as of mid June 2002. AstraZeneca, one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies, is the second-largest marketer of pharmaceuticals in Finland with 7% market share and with sales of EUR 88.6 million in 2001.

Along with the agreement with AstraZeneca, Oriola's market share of pharmaceutical distribution in Finland will rise to about 37 percent, on the basis of pharmaceutical wholesaling statistics for the first quarter of the current year. Oriola, which is a business division of the Orion Group, is a pharmaceutical wholesaler and distributor and a marketer of healthcare products covering the sector comprehensively. Oriola's invoicing in 2001 came to EUR 623 million, of which pharmaceutical distribution contributed around 80%.

"Customer focus, expertise and high-quality products are elementary principles in AstraZeneca. The choice of the distributor for our products in Finland is in line with our corporate culture", says
Lasse Savonen, Managing Director of AstraZeneca Oy.

"This agreement is one of the largest distribution contracts in the more than 50-year-long history or Oriola and a great achievement, evidencing trust by a huge and demanding pharmaceuticals company on the quality we deliver", Seppo Morri, President of Oriola, rejoices.

AstraZeneca is one of the world's leading enterprises investing in pharmaceutical research and development. Its focus areas are gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, respiratory, oncology, pain control, central nervous system, and infection. Driven by a strong product portfolio that includes Nexium, a treatment launched last year for gastric acid-related diseases, and Symbicort for asthma, among others, AstraZeneca in Finland is growing at a rate double as high as the current average growth of the Finnish pharmaceuticals market.

Contact persons:
Lasse Savonen, Managing Director, AstraZeneca Oy, phone +358 9 6136 5210, gsm +358 40 506 5007
Seppo Morri, President, Oriola Oy, phone +358 10 429 2211, gsm +358 50 429 2211