Bayer is one of the world’s leading drug manufacturers. Based in Germany, the company markets a number of popular products, including the Mirena IUD, the antibiotic Cipro, and the blood thinner Xarelto.
Headquartered in Leverkusen, Germany, Bayer has more than 280 worldwide subsidiaries, including:
Bayer currently employs more than 118,000 around the globe, and has established its presence in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
Bayer was founded in 1863 by dye salesman Friedrich Bayer and master dyer Johann Friedrich Weskott. In 1881, the company transitioned into a joint-stock corporation, which paved the way for Bayer to become an international chemical manufacturer and provided the financial resources to establish a pharmaceutical division. That same year, Bayer built a scientific laboratory in Wuppertal-Elberfeld, Germany. Bayer Aspirin hit the market in 1899.
In 1925, Bayer incorporated into chemical conglomerate IG Farben, and ceased to exist as an independent entity. However, that company was broken up in the wake of WWII, after the allies determined that its entanglement with the Nazi regime made IG Farben too morally corrupt. The Soviet Union seized most of IG Farben’s assets located in the Soviet occupation zone as part of their reparation payments. However, IG Farben continued to do business in the western occupation zone until 1951, when it was broken up into its original constituent companies. Bayer remerged that year as Farbenfabriken Bayer AG.
The reconstruction of Bayer played a key role in the Wirtschaftswunder, or economic miracle, that the Federal Republic of German experienced from the 1950s through the 1970s.
Over the years, a number of products marketed by Bayer have been the subject of controversy and litigation. These include:
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