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This article is about the chemical and pharmaceutical company. For other uses, see Bayer (disambiguation).

Not to be confused with Beyer.

Bayer AG


Public (FWB: BAYN, TYO: 4863)


Pharmaceuticals, chemicals




Friedrich Bayer, Johann Friedrich Weskott


Leverkusen, Germany

Key people

Werner Wenning (CEO), Manfred Schneider (Chairman of the supervisory board)


Veterinary drugs, diagnostic imaging, general and specialty medicines, women’s health products, over-the-counter drugs, diabetes care, pesticides, plant biotechnology, polymers, coatings, adhesives


31.168 billion (2009)[1]

Operating income 

▲ €3.006 billion (2009)[1]


▲ €1.359 billion (2009)[1]


108,400 (2009)[1]


Bayer MaterialScience, Bayer USA, Bayer Schering Pharma, Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Bayer CropScience



Bayer AG (German pronunciation: [ˈbaɪə]) (FWB: BAYN, TYO: 4863) is a chemical and pharmaceutical company founded in Barmen, Germany in 1863. Today it is headquartered in Leverkusen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is well-known for its original brand of aspirin.



Advertisement for Aspirin, Heroin, Lycetol, Salophen

Bayer AG was founded in Barmen (today a part of Wuppertal), Germany in 1863 by Friedrich Bayer and his partner, Johann Friedrich Weskott.

Bayer’s first major product was acetylsalicylic acid (originally discovered by French chemist Charles Frederic Gerhardt in 1853), a modification of salicylic acid or salicin, a folk remedy found in the bark of the willow plant. By 1899, Bayer’s trademark Aspirin was registered worldwide for Bayer’s brand of acetylsalicylic acid, but because of the confiscation of Bayer’s US assets and trademarks during World War I by the United States – and the subsequent widespread usage of the word to describe all brands of the compound, “Aspirin” lost its trademark status in the United States, France, and the United Kingdom. It is now widely used in the US, UK, and France for all brands of the drug. However in over 80 other countries, such as Canada, Mexico, Germany, and Switzerland, it is still a registered trademark of Bayer.

In 1904, the Bayer company introduced the Bayer cross as its corporate logo. Because Bayer’s aspirin was sold through pharmacists and doctors only, and the company could not put its own packaging on the drug, the Bayer cross was imprinted on the actual tablets, so that customers would associate Bayer with its aspirin.

As part of the reparations after World War I, Bayer had its assets, including the rights to its name and trademarks confiscated in the United States, Canada, and several other countries. In the United States and Canada, Bayer’s assets and trademarks were acquired by Sterling Drug, a predecessor of Sterling Winthrop.

The Bayer company then became part of IG Farben, a conglomerate of German chemical industries that formed a part of the financial core of the German Nazi regime. IG Farben owned 42.5% of the company that manufactured Zyklon B,[2] a chemical used in the gas chambers of Auschwitz and other extermination camps. During World War II, the company also extensively used slave labor in factories attached to large slave labor camps, notably the sub-camps of the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp.[3] When the Allies split IG Farben into several pieces after World War II for involvement in organized Nazi war crimes, Bayer reappeared as an individual business. The Bayer executive Fritz ter Meer, sentenced to seven years in prison by the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal, was made head of the supervisory board of Bayer in 1956, after his release.[4]

In 1978, Bayer purchased Miles Laboratories and its subsidiaries Miles Canada and Cutter Laboratories (along with a product line including Alka-Seltzer, Flintstones Vitamins and One-A-Day Vitamins, and Cutter insect repellent). In 1994, Bayer AG purchased Sterling Winthrop’s over the counter drug business from SmithKline Beecham and merged it with Miles Laboratories, thereby reacquiring the U.S. and Canadian trademark rights to “Bayer” and the Bayer cross, as well as the ownership of the Aspirin trademark in Canada.

Bayer Heroin bottle

Bayer has discovered, among others:

  • Aspirin — an analgesic, anti-fever, and anti-coagulant medicine, arguably the most commercially successful drug ever
  • Heroin (diacetylmorphine) — an addictive drug, originally sold as a cough treatment. Heroin was a Bayer trademark, until World War I
  • Prontosil as the first sulfonamide
  • Ciprofloxacin — an antibiotic used to treat anthrax and urinary tract infections.
  • Levitra — a treatment for Erectile Dysfunction
  • Polyurethane — a very versatile polymer for a wide variety of applications
  • Polycarbonate — the material of the CD, etc. (Makrolon)
  • Suramin
  • Parathioninsecticide
  • Propoxur — insecticide


The company’s corporate logo, the Bayer cross, was introduced in 1904. It consists of the horizontal word “BAYER” crossed with the vertical word “BAYER”, both words sharing the “Y”, and enclosed in a circle. An illuminated version of the logo lights up the skyline of Leverkusen, where Bayer is headquartered. Installed in 1958, this is the largest illuminated advertisement in the world.


Werner Wenning (Chairman of the Board of Management)

In order to separate operational and strategic managements, Bayer AG was reorganized into a holding company in December 2003. The group’s core businesses were transformed into limited companies, each controlled by Bayer AG. These companies are: Bayer CropScience AG; Bayer HealthCare AG; Bayer MaterialScience AG and Bayer Chemicals AG, and the three service limited companies Bayer Technology Services GmbH, Bayer Business Services GmbH and Bayer Industry Services GmbH & Co. OHG.

Following Bayer’s successful reorganization, its chemicals activities (with the exception of H.C. Starck and Wolff Walsrode) were combined with certain components of the polymers segment to form the new company Lanxess. This change took place on July 1, 2004, with Lanxess listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in early 2005. Bayer HealthCare’s Diagnostics Division was acquired by Siemens Medical Solutions in January 2007.

Bayer AG shares are listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, the London Stock Exchange and used to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. On September 5, 2007, Bayer announced its intention to file for delisting of its American Depositary Shares (ADSs) from the NYSE. It is also planned to de-register with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and thereby terminate the respective reporting obligations.

Bayer is governed by a board of management, consisting of: Klaus Kühn, Wolfgang Plischke, Richard Pott, and Werner Wenning.[5]

In 2004 Bayer HealthCare AG acquired the OTC Pharmaceutical Division of Roche Pharmaceuticals.

On March 13, 2006, Merck KGaA announced a €14.6bn bid for Schering AG. Merck’s takeover bid was surpassed by Bayer’s (successful) $19.5bn white-knight bid for Schering on March 23, 2006.

On March 11, 2008, Bayer HealthCare announced an agreement to acquire the portfolio and OTC division of privately owned Sagmel, Inc., a US-based company that markets over-the-counter medications in most of the Commonwealth of Independent States countries such as Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and others. This deal is aimed at boosting Bayer HealthCare sales and market share in the above-mentioned region and expected to be finished by the end of 2008.[6][7]


  • Germany – headquarters of the holding company as well as the subsidiary companies Bayer CropScience, Bayer MaterialScience and Bayer HealthCare
  • Belgium – including production facilities for Makrolon and polyurethanes (in Antwerp)
  • Canada – Toronto headquarters and offices in Ottawa and Calgary
  • France – including European headquarters of Bayer CropScience (in Lyon)
  • Italy – including 5 production facilities
  • Philippines – including production of Canesten, Autan and Baygon.
  • United States – Bayer USA operates a suburban Pittsburgh headquarters.
  • Australia
  • Argentina
  • Aruba
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Cambodia
  • Chile
  • China
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Curaçao
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Finland
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong SAR
  • Hungary
  • India
  • Israel
  • Indonesia
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Laos
  • Mexico
  • Myanmar
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Panama
  • Poland
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam

Bayer main factory in Leverkusen

Subgroups and Service Companies

Bayer AG comprises three subgroups and three services companies. The subgroups and service companies operate independently, led by the management holding company.[1]

Bayer CropScience

Bayer CropScience has products in crop protection and non-agricultural pest control. It also has activities in seeds and plant traits.[1]

In 2002 Bayer AG acquired Aventis CropScience and fused it with their own agrochemicals division (Bayer Pflanzenschutz or “Crop Protection”) to form Bayer CropScience. The company is now one of the world’s leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of crop protection (i.e. pesticides), non-agricultural pest control, seeds and plant biotechnology. In addition to conventional agrochemical business it is involved in genetic engineering of food. The Belgian biotech company Plant Genetic Systems, became part of the company by the acquisition of Aventis CropScience.

Also in 2002, Bayer AG acquired the Dutch seed company Nunhems.

Bayer CropScience is involved in a joint project with Archer Daniels Midland Company and Daimler AG to develop jatropha as a biofuel.[8]

Bayer HealthCare

Bayer HealthCare is Bayer’s pharmaceutical and medical products subgroup. It is involved in the research, development, manufacture and marketing of products that aim to improve the health of people and animals. Bayer HealthCare comprises a further four sub-divisions: Bayer Schering Pharma, Bayer Consumer Care, Bayer Animal Health and Bayer Medical Care.[1]

Bayer Schering Pharma

In 2007 Bayer took over Schering AG. The acquisition of Schering was the largest take-over in Bayer’s history.

Bayer Schering Pharma produces the birth control pills Yaz and Yasmin. Both pills use a newer type of progesterone hormone called drospirenone in combination with estrogen. Yaz is advertised as a treatment for premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and moderate acne. Other key products include the cancer drug Nexavar, the multiple sclerosis drug Betaferon/Betaseron and the blood-clotting drug, Kogenate.[1]

Bayer Consumer Care

Bayer Consumer Care manages Bayer’s over-the-counter medicines portfolio. Key products include food supplements Redoxon & Berocca and skincare products Bepanthen & Bepanthol.[1]

Bayer Animal Health

Bayer HealthCare’s Animal Health Division is the maker of Advantage Multi (imidacloprid + moxidectin) Topical Solution for dogs and cats, Advantage flea control for cats and dogs and K9 Advantix, a flea, tick, and mosquito control product for dogs. Advantage Multi, K9 Advantix and Advantage are trademarks of Bayer. The division specializes in parasite control and prescription pharmaceuticals for dogs, cats, horses, and cattle. North American operation for the Animal Health Division are headquartered in Shawnee, Kansas. Bayer Animal Health is a division of Bayer HealthCare LLC, one of the world’s leading healthcare companies. K9 Advantix is renowned for its popular jingle.

Bayer Medical Care

Bayer Medical Care manages Bayer’s medical devices portfolio. Key products include the blood glucose monitors Contour and Elite used in the management of diabetes.[1]

Bayer Material Science

Bayer MaterialScience is a supplier of high-tech ­polymers and develops solutions for a broad range of applications relevant to everyday life.[1]

Bayer Business Services

Located at the Bayer USA Headquarters in Robinson Township, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Bayer Business Services handles the Information Technology infrastructure and technical support aspect of Bayer USA and Bayer Canada. This is also the headquarters of the North American Service Desk, the central IT Help Desk for all of Bayer USA and Bayer Canada.

Bayer Technology Services

Bayer Technology Services is engaged in process development and in process and plant engineering, construction and optimization.[1]


Currenta offers services for the chemical industry including utility supply, waste management, infrastructure, safety, security, analytics and vocational training.[1]

Bayer 04 Leverkusen

Main article: Bayer 04 Leverkusen

In 1904, the company founded the sports club TuS 04 (“Turn- und Spielverein der Farbenfabriken vorm. Friedr. Bayer & Co.”), later SV Bayer 04 (“Sportvereinigung Bayer 04 Leverkusen”), finally becoming TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen (“Turn- und Sportverein”) in 1984, generally however known simply as Bayer 04 Leverkusen. The club is best known for its football team, but has been involved in many other sports, including athletics, fencing, team handball, volleyball, boxing, and basketball. TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen is one of the largest sports clubs in Germany. The company also supports similar clubs at other company sites, including Dormagen (particularly handball), Wuppertal (particularly volleyball), and Krefeld-Uerdingen (featuring another former Bundesliga football club, SC Bayer 05 Uerdingen, now KFC Uerdingen 05).[9]

However, due to cost factors, the company has decided to cut back its sponsoring of its top sports teams in most areas. The sponsoring agreements with first and second-division teams in basketball, team handball, and volleyball, as well as in olympic-level athletics and fencing, will be terminated in 2008 or 2010. Despite their many successes (multiple German national championships as well as numerous Olympic medals), they are not considered to be valuable enough as a marketing tool in terms of their cost-to-benefit ratio. Only the very “telegenic” football (soccer) team, whose marketing value is very high due the exposure in the media and the popularity of the sport itself, will continue to be supported as in the past. General sponsoring of sport for youth and for handicapped people will also be continued as in the past.[10]


Nazi chairman and aspirin discoverer

In his book Aspirin: The Story of a Wonder Drug, author Diarmuid Jeffreys investigated Bayer’s sponsorship of the experiments of Nazi Dr. Josef Mengele. In 1956 Fritz ter Meer became chairman of Bayer after having been sentenced at the Nuremberg trials to seven years’ imprisonment for his part in carrying out experiments on human subjects at Auschwitz.

Jefferys also details Arthur Eichengrün, the Bayer chemist who first found an aspirin formulation which was tolerable in the human stomach and did not have the unpleasant side effects of nausea and gastric pain. Eichengrün also invented the name aspirin and was the first person to use the new formulation to test its safety and efficacy. However, Eichengrün was excluded from the official version of Bayer’s history in 1934 because of his Jewish origin. Instead, it was claimed by Bayer that aspirin was “discovered” by an “Aryan” scientist, Felix Hoffman, to alleviate the sufferings of his rheumatic father. Bayer AG publishes beliefs in the latter.

Mr. Jeffreys’ claims are widely reflected in other publications and official records,[11][12][13][14][15][16] although they are also disputed in other publications.[17]

It has also been documented that Aspirin compounds were successfully synthesized by various other scientists or groups thereof in the years between 1848–1869, long before Bayer’s claims. This fact led to various patent litigations in the early 20th century.[18]

Liberty Link Rice

In August 2006, it became apparent that the United States rice crop had been contaminated with unapproved genetically engineered Bayer CropScience rice as undisclosed amounts were found in commercial rice supplies.[19]

More specifically, the genetically engineered rice has an herbicide-resistance trait. These forms of rice are commonly referred to amongst US rice growers as, Liberty Link Rice 601 or LL 601. Approximately 100 varieties of rice produced primarily in the following six states: Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and California. The US rice crop is valued at approximately $1.88 billion annually. In 2005, approximately 80% of the rice exported from the US was of the long grain variety, the variety contaminated.[citation needed]


Main article: Imidacloprid effects on bee population

Bayer AG is involved in an ongoing controversy with French and Nova Scotian beekeepers over claimed pesticide kills of honeybees from its seed treatment insecticide imidacloprid. France has since issued a provisional ban on the use of Imidacloprid for corn seed treatment pending further action. A consortium of U.S. beekeepers has also filed a civil suit against Bayer CropScience for alleged losses.

Congo civil war

Austrian journalist Klaus Werner alleged in his book “Schwarzbuch Markenfirmen” (“Black Book on Brand Companies”), that the Bayer subsidiary H.C. Starck financed the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo by trading illegally with the mineral coltan. The allegations were also confirmed by a U.N. panel of experts. Bayer alleged that since 2001 it didn’t trade any more in Congolese coltan, but never proved where their resources came from.[20][21]

HIV infected blood products

Main article: Contaminated haemophilia blood products

A cite from http://www.haemophilia-litigation.com/, access date 31.05.2006:

“After 1978, there were four major companies in the United States engaged in the manufacture, production and sale of Factor VIII and IX: Armour Pharmaceutical Company, Bayer Corporation and its Cutter Biological division, Baxter Healthcare and its Hyland Pharmaceutical division and Alpha Therapeutic Corporation, which have been or are defendants in certain lawsuits.

The plaintiffs allege that the companies manufactured and sold blood factor products as beneficial “medicines” that were, in fact of likely to be contaminated with HIV and/or HCV. This resulted in the mass infection and/or deaths of thousands of haemophiliacs worldwide.[22]

It is believed that three of these companies, Alpha, Baxter, and Cutter, recruited and paid donors from high risk populations, including prisoners (i.e. prison-based collections), intravenous drug users, and plasma centers with predominantly homosexual donors, esp. in cities with large populations thereof, to obtain blood plasma used for the production of Factor VIII and IX. Plaintiffs allege that these companies failed to exclude donors, as mandated by federal law, with a history of viral hepatitis. Such testing could have substantially reduced the likelihood of plasma containing HIV and/ or HCV entering plasma pools.”[23][24][25]

Baycol deaths

Bayer’s anti-cholesterol drug, Baycol (also known as Lipobay and cerivastatin), has deadly side effects. The Food and Drug Administration received reports of 31 US deaths due to rhabdomyolysis, a potentially fatal adverse muscle reaction that results in muscle cell breakdown and release of the contents of muscle cells in the bloodstream. Symptoms include muscle pain, weakness, fever, nausea, and vomiting. Bayer admitted that the drug might have killed 52 people already worldwide, with another 1,100 potentially crippled. Although Bayer voluntarily recalled the drug after a large number of deaths, Germany’s health minister, on 25 August 2001, accused Bayer of sitting on research documenting Baycol’s lethal side-effects for nearly two months before the government in Berlin was informed.’ A number of individual and class action law suits have been filed, including one in Pennsylvania which cited 480 cases of Baycol-related illnesses. The number of Baycol related deaths has risen to almost 100.[citation needed]

Methyl parathion poisoning case

In October 2001, Bayer was taken to court after 24 children in the remote Andean village of Tauccamarca, Peru were killed and 18 severely poisoned when they drank a powdered milk substitute that had been contaminated with the insecticide methyl parathion. The white powder that resembles powdered milk and has no strong chemical odour was packaged in small plastic bags that provide no protection to users and give no indication of the danger of the product within. The bags were labelled in Spanish only, and carried drawings of healthy carrots and potatoes but no pictograms indicating danger or toxicity.[citation needed] After a nine month investigation, a Peruvian Congressional Subcommittee has found significant evidence of criminal responsibility by both the agrochemical company Bayer and the Peruvian Ministry of Agriculture in the poisoning of 42 children in the remote Andean village of Tauccamarca in October 1999.[26]



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Using Baytril and other fluoroquinolones in poultry and cattle leads to antibiotic-resistant bacteria and pathogens in animals, making it possible for strains of resistant bacteria to enter the human body. This makes human versions of the drug ineffective in treating people infected by these bacteria, which could be life-threatening to the elderly, to children and to those with depressed immune systems or in weakened conditions. Fluoroquinolones are commonly prescribed to treat serious gastrointestinal illness, including the common Campylobacter and Salmonella bacteria. Campylobacter accounts for nearly two million illnesses and 100 deaths each year, and Salmonella accounts for 1.3 million illnesses and about 500 deaths annually. Very few bacteria were found resistant to fluoroquinolones until the drugs also began to be used in poultry in 1995. By 1998, 13 percent of Campylobacter tested in humans were resistant to fluoroquinolones, and by 1999, nearly 18 percent of Campylobacter were found to be resistant.

After data collected by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that the use of fluoroquinolones in poultry was speeding up the bacteria’s development of resistance to the drug, the US Food and Drug Administration concluded that the health of at least 5,000 Americans is affected each year by the use of these drugs in chickens. It also proposed to ban this use. Abbott Laboratories, one of the two producers of poultry fluoroquinolones in the US, voluntarily withdrew its product, but Bayer refused to comply with the proposed ban and instead requested a hearing on the proposal. This hearing may take years to complete, and by then the ban may be a moot point since the drug may be ineffective in humans by the time the FDA is able to issue a final ban on the use of these drugs in poultry.

The United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United Nations’ World Health Organization, have strongly advocated a ban for years. On 31 October 2000, Environmental Defense, the American Public Health Association, Center for Science in the Public Interest; Delmarva Poultry Justice Alliance; Food Animal Concerns Trust; Global Resources Action Center for the Environment; Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy; National Catholic Rural Life Conference; Physicians for Social Responsibility; and Union of Concerned Scientists signed a letter to the Bayer Corporation asking it to comply voluntarily with the proposed ban. In November, more than 180 individual health care professionals and several medical organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American College of Preventive Medicine, sent a similar letter to Bayer.

But Bayer has recently spent over US$ 50 million to build new production facilities for Baytril in Germany and the US. The company claimed that Baytril is completely harmless in a letter to veterinarians: “Bayer has and always will play a leading role in defending fluoroquinolones”.

2001 Medicare reimbursement action by US government

In January 2001, Bayer agreed to pay $14 million to the United States and 45 states to settle allegations under the federal False Claims Act that the company caused physicians and other health care providers to submit fraudulently inflated reimbursement claims to the state and federally funded Medicaid program.[27]

2006 Trasylol safety advisory

In September 2006, Bayer A.G. was faulted by the FDA for not revealing during testimony the existence of a commissioned retrospective study of 67,000 patients, 30,000 of whom received Trasylol and the rest other anti-fibrinolytics. The study concluded Trasylol carried greater risks. The FDA was alerted to the study by one of the researchers involved. Although the FDA issued a statement of concern they did not change their recommendation that the drug may benefit certain subpopulations of patients. In a Public Health Advisory Update dated October 3, 2006, the FDA recommended that “physicians consider limiting Trasylol use to those situations in which the clinical benefit of reduced blood loss is necessary to medical management and outweighs the potential risks” and carefully monitor patients.[28] “A renowned researcher calculates that 22,000 patients could have been saved if the Food and Drug Administration removed the heart surgery drug Trasylol two years ago, when his study revealed widespread death associated with it……”[29] The FDA took Trasylol off the market on November 5, 2007.[30]

Human rights campaign

Bayer USA was given the lowest score (15 out of 100) of all rated companies in its category in the Human Rights Campaign‘s 2008 Corporate Equality Index, a measure of gay and lesbian workplace equality.[31] However, they have improved and managed a score of 80 in the 2009 CEI.[32]

Prostate cancer claims

In October 2009 the Center for Science in the Public Interest sued Bayer for “falsely claiming that the selenium in Men’s One A Day multivitamins might reduce the risk of prostate cancer.” [33]

Intoxication in the Philippines

By Baycor and Nemacur, which are pesticides, Bayer has caused the death of persons in the Philippines.[34]

Chemical accidents

On August 28, 2008, an explosion occurred at the Bayer CropScience facility at Institute, West Virginia. A runaway reaction ruptured a tank and the resulting explosion killed two employees. The ruptured tank was close to a methyl isocyanate tank which was undamaged by the explosion.[35]

Awards and recognition

In October 2008, Bayer’s Canadian division was named one of “Canada’s Top 100 Employers” by Mediacorp Canada Inc., and was featured in Maclean’s news magazine. Later that month, the Canadian division was also named one of Greater Toronto’s Top Employers, which was announced by the Toronto Star newspaper.[36]


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