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Axcan Receives European Approval of PHOTOBARR for the Ablation of High-Grade Dysplasia Associated With Barrett's Esophagus


Mar 30, 2004 - 12:00 ET

Axcan Receives European Approval of PHOTOBARR for the Ablation of High-Grade Dysplasia
Associated With Barrett's Esophagus

MONT SAINT-HILAIRE, Quebec--Axcan Pharma Inc. ("Axcan" or the "Company") announced
today that the Committee of Proprietary Medicinal Products ("CPMP") of the European
Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products has granted Axcan a Marketing
Authorization for use in the European Union of its photodynamic therapy ("PDT"),
PHOTOBARR (porfimer sodium), in the ablation of High-Grade Dysplasia associated
with Barrett's Esophagus.  PHOTOBARR PDT was also granted an orphan medical product
status at the time of its submission, which guarantees Axcan exclusive marketing
rights for PHOTOBARR PDT in the European Union for a ten-year period.

It is estimated that High-Grade Dysplasia associated with Barrett's Esophagus affects
25,000 to 35,000 people in Europe, and an additional 5,000 to 7,000 people in Europe
are diagnosed with this condition each year.
    
"We are pleased with the CPMP's approval of PHOTOBARR PDT for the treatment of
High-Grade Dysplasia associated with Barrett's Esophagus. This approval, which is the
first one for Axcan in Europe, is very important since it demonstrates our ability to
navigate the European regulatory process," said Léon F. Gosselin, President and
Chief Executive Officer of Axcan. "We expect to launch PHOTOBARR PDT in the second half
of fiscal 2004," he concluded.

Photodynamic Therapy using porfimer sodium as a photosensitizer was approved and
recently launched in North America under the brand PHOTOFRIN PDT, for the ablation
of High-Grade Dysplasia associated with Barrett's Esophagus.

Barrett's Esophagus is a condition in which the normal lining of the lower part of
the esophagus is replaced over time by the type of lining that is normally present
in the stomach.  Usually Barrett's Esophagus develops during the process of healing
after a chronic injury to the esophageal mucosa, such as the injury caused by reflux
of gastric juice in the esophagus. Continued reflux may cause dysplastic changes
progressing from low-grade to High-Grade Dysplasia. Such dysplasia may lead to
esophageal adenocarcinoma, which is a life-threatening condition.
 
Axcan is a leading specialty pharmaceutical company involved in the field of
gastroenterology. The Company markets a broad line of prescription products sold for
the treatment of symptoms in a number of gastrointestinal diseases and disorders such
as inflammatory bowel disease, 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 "AXCA".

"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, including 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,
and other risks detailed from time to time in the Company's filings with the Canadian and U.S.
Commissions. 

The names PHOTOBARR and PHOTOFRIN appearing in this press release are trademarks of
Axcan Pharma Inc. or its affiliates


INFORMATION:	David W. Mims
		Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
		Axcan Pharma Inc.
		Tel: (205) 991-8085 ext. 3223
	
                www.axcan.com