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Bayer AG

is one of the most popular yet controversial companies in the world. Friedrich Bayer and Johann Friedrich Weskott founded the company in 1863 in Barmen, Germany (Bayer: A History, 2009). Bayer AG has been involved in the production of chemicals and pharmaceuticals since its establishment. The company remained successful in Germany before going international after 1881. Bayer AG enjoyed unquestionable international success establishing research centers in different parts of the world. Penetration into the North American market was particularly vital to the development of Bayer AG. The First World War and the development of harmful drugs became the downfall of Bayer AG in the United States.

Controversial Drugs

The company was accused of producing drugs and pesticides that were harmful to human beings and plants. In 1898, for example, Bayer AG mass produced opiate diacetylmorphine, named it heroin then sold it to the people (Bayer AG: Corporate Crimes, 2005). The drug was sold as harmless despite the known addictive nature of heroin. Worse still, this drug was sold as medicine to treat coughs in children. Bayer AG went on to be involved in several health scandals including the trademarking of acetylsalicylic acid, chemical production during the World Wars, and inhumane lab tests (Bayer: A History, 2009). These practices led to increased concern from players in the field of medicine. Bayer AG even became an indirect enemy of the United States by working with Germany.


The worst of all these crimes was the production of Baycol which is sometimes referred to as Lipobay and cerivastatin. This drug was meant to build muscle and burn fats in human beings. It sold fast because it was a weight loss drug. People who used the drug experienced adverse side effects with more than 50 people dying worldwide (Bayer AG: Corporate Crimes, 2005). Information was then released that Bayer hid research showing these dreadful side effects. The result was a closure of the company in most parts of the world and a series of court cases that the company still faces. Despite the series of unethical and criminal activities, Bayer AG is still in operation.


Bayer AG: Corporate Crimes. (2005, Jun 14). Retrieved Sept 28, 2017, from Corporate Watch U.K:
Bayer: A History. (2009, Feb 1). Retrieved Sept 28, 2017, from