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Axcan Launches URSO Forte™ in the U.S.

Nov 02, 2004 - 12:00 ET

MONT SAINT-HILAIRE, Quebec, Nov. 2 -- Axcan Pharma Inc.
("Axcan" or the "Company") announced today the launch
of new URSO Forte™. This unique, 500 mg ursodiol
tablet was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration ("FDA") for the treatment of Primary
Biliary Cirrhosis (PBC).

"URSO Forte™ will help improve compliance, simplify
dosing for many patients and may lower cost for this
drug, which is the only approved product for patients
with Primary Biliary Cirrhosis ("PBC")," said Keith Lindor,
MD, Vice Chair, Medical Affairs for the American Liver
Foundation ("ALF"), and Professor of Medicine at the Mayo
Clinic. "URSO also improves survival while reducing the
need for liver transplantation in these patients."

URSO Forte™, and its lower dose equivalent, URSO 250®,
are the only FDA-approved ursodiol products for the
treatment of PBC. Also, they are the only ursodiol products
proven to delay the progression of PBC, normalize liver
function tests, and significantly improve transplant-free
survival to the point that non-cirrhotic PBC patients will
have a survival rate similar to that of the general

In North America the ursodiol market exceeds U.S.$100
million annually. During the twelve-month period ended
August 31, 2004, 38.2% of all gastrointestinal prescriptions
for ursodiol in the United States were for URSO 250, making
URSO 250 the most prescribed "branded" ursodiol in the U.S.

URSO Forte™ will be distributed to major independent and
retail pharmacies.


PBC is a chronic liver disease that slowly destroys the bile
ducts in the liver and eventually leads to cirrhosis.
Cirrhosis results in severe liver scarring (fibrosis) that
impairs liver function. The cause of PBC is unknown. Studies
show that women are affected 10 times more commonly than men.
PBC is usually diagnosed in patients between the ages of
35 and 60. The illness is chronic and can lead to liver
failure and other life-threatening complications.


Axcan is a leading specialty pharmaceutical company involved
in the field of gastroenterology. Axcan markets a broad line
of prescription products sold for the treatment of symptoms
in a number of gastrointestinal diseases and disorders such
as irritable bowel disorder, irritable bowel syndrome,
cholestatic liver diseases and complications related to
cystic fibrosis. Axcan's products are marketed by its own
sales force in North America and Europe. Its common shares
are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol
"AXP" and on the NASDAQ National Market under the symbol

"Safe Harbor" statement under the Private Securities
Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

To the extent any statements made in this release contain
information that is not historical, these statements are
essentially forward looking and are subject to risks and
uncertainties, which may include acceptance and demand for
new pharmaceutical products, the impact of competitive
products and pricing, new product development and launch,
reliance on key strategic alliances, availability of raw
materials, the regulatory environment, fluctuations in
operating results and other risks detailed from time to
time in the Company's filings with the Securities and
Exchange Commission and the Canadian Multijurisdictional
Disclosure System.

URSO is a  trademark of Axcan Pharma Inc. and its

For further information: David W. Mims Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Axcan Pharma Inc. (205) 991-8085 ext. 223 Julie M. Thibodeau, Manager Investor Relations Axcan Pharma Inc. (450) 467-2600 ext. 2062