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BBC Online Chief Heads New Medscape European Operation

Health information provider Medscape this week announced Medscape Europe, a wholly-owned subsidiary to be headed by Edward Briffa, newly-appointed as chief executive officer and formerly head of BBC Online.

"Medscape Europe will seek partners interested in connectivity, e-commerce and business-to-business applications," said Briffa.

The launch of Medscape Europe is the first stage of an aggressive international expansion, prompted by what the company sees as a rising global demand for Web-based health information and services.

Paul Sheils, Medscape's president and chief executive officer, said that with its brand, traffic, and reach, Medscape was in strong position in Europe.

"As a region, Europe represents 29 per cent of the world's pharmaceutical consumption versus 34 per cent from the United States," said Sheils, adding that European Internet penetration is expected to reach 35 per cent of adults by 2003, up from about 12 per cent today.

Medscape has announced an Advisory Board for Medscape Europe, including Edward Briffa, International Vice President David Tyler, and Directors Esther Dyson, and Peter M. Frishauf.

Among Medscape's plans for Europe are local-language sites in targeted markets, although the company did not reveal which markets it would address first.

Outside Europe, Medscape operates a Japanese-language site, Medscape Japan.

Other sites run by Medscape include Medscape Pharmacology and the highly popular CBSHealthWatch which was developed jointly with CBS Corp.

Worldwide, Medscape has over 1.7 million registered members, the majority of whom are physicians or allied healthcare professionals.



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