Bayer

Bayer AG is a German chemical and pharmaceutical company founded in Barmen (now Wuppertal) in 1863. It’s headquartered in Leverkusen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Northwestern Germany, where its illuminated sign is a landmark. Bayer’s primary areas of business include human and veterinary pharmaceuticals, consumer healthcare products, agricultural chemicals, biotech products; and high-value polymers. During WW2 it was part of IG Farben, which was broken up after the war, when Bayer became independent again. Bayer’s first and best known product was Aspirin. They also trademarked “heroin” and marketed it as a cough suppressant and non-addictive substitute for morphine from 1898 to 1910. They introduced phenobarbital, Prontosil, the first widely used antibiotic, and the subject of the 1939 Nobel Prize in Medicine, the antibiotic Cipro (ciprofloxacin), and Yaz (drospirenone) birth control pills. In 2014, they bought Merck’s consumer business, with US-brands such as Claritin, Coppertone, and Dr. Scholl’s. Bayer sponsors Bayer 04 Leverkusen, a Bundesliga football club. The company has been involved in controversies regarding some of its products; e.g. its statin drug Baycol (cerivastatin) was discontinued in 2001 after 52 people died from renal failure, and Trasylol (Aprotinin), used to control bleeding during major surgery, was withdrawn from the markets worldwide when reports of increased mortality emerged; it was later re-introduced in Europe. Bayer’s neonicotinoid pesticides have been the subject of controversy regarding their possible role in colony collapse disorder.