TRADING IN CALIF. DRUG FIRM'S STOCK UNDER SCRUTINY

TRADING IN CALIF. DRUG FIRM'S STOCK UNDER SCRUTINY

ICN Pharmaceuticals said the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating $1.24 million worth of stock trades made last November by the company's chairman, Milan Panic.

The probe will examine whether Mr. Panic sold stock "while in possession of material, nonpublic information," according to the Costa Mesa, Calif.- based firm's latest 10-Q filing with the SEC.Mr. Panic sold the stock days after the Food and Drug Administration rejected ICN's marketing application for its Virazole hepatitis C drug. The rejection was published in February.

The SEC filing is the first time ICN has confirmed the probe, which has been the subject of speculation in several news reports. The company said it was cooperating with the SEC, but declined to comment further.

An ICN source said the probe, which was launched May 15, was predictable given the stock fluctuations.