One of the largest and most famous drug companies across the world, today, is Bayer. Originating from Germany, the centuries-old company’s rise in fortune happened around the end of the 1890s. At that time, Bayer had introduced two medicines to the commercial market. One was aspirin, the other was heroin. Both would forever change the pharmaceutical market when it came to remedies for pain, cold, and cough.
However, there is a lesser-known fact regarding this. Bayer was still advertising Heroin as medicine for children who were suffering from “irritation” (and colds and cough) even in 1912. Now, the first reports regarding Heroin “tolerance” had surfaced in 1899. The drug’s history states that even before the 1900s came around, reports about the growing addiction for the drug were increasing in the United States. So even after a decade of such reports, Bayer had continued promoting the drug as safe for children.
The campaign targeting children used to run in newspapers in Spain. The report about the controversial history was revealed by the Coalition Against Bayer Dangers. They are one of the oldest corporate gadflies of Bayer. The revelation was made back in 2011.
One of the advertisements suggested “Heroina” as the treatment for bronchitis in children. It depicts two children, who are completely unsupervised, trying to grab a heroin bottle sitting upon a table. A different advertisement shows a mother feeding a sickly young girl the opiate using a spoon. The caption reads: “La tos desaperece” or “the cough disappears”.
The United States restricted Heroin and made it a prescription-only drug in 1914. Eventually, a newly formed FDA banned the drug completely in 1924, except if extremely severe medical conditions called for its use.
The report is, to be fair, a remnant of a past that is more than a century old now. It has nothing to say about the corporate culture of Bayer in the present day. However, the sudden revelations serve as a frightening reminder of the state of the world during the earliest years of the 20th Century. Back then, companies were allowed to sell whatever they wanted to whoever they wanted. There were very few regulating bodies keeping an eye on the dangers and consequences of the products.
Take a look at the advertisements that were uncovered:
“Heroina” From Bayer For “Bronchitis” And “Irritation”
This Advertisement Might Have Been Foreshadowing Something
“Jarabe Bayer de Heroina” and “En la tos fuerte” are loosely translated as a “strong syrup for coughs Bayer Heroin”.
The Catarrh Has Vanished!
Heroin: Not Only For Children
The campaign for kids was only a part of the larger push in the Spanish language, promoting the opiate by Bayer.
Welcome Home, Have A Refreshing Smack!
The man had a long and tiring day at work. But the wife has just the drink to welcome him back: a healthy dose of fresh dope.
Apparently, It Only Worked For Rain-Induced Colds And Coughs
This advertisement says that Bayer’s “Heroina” works best for those colds and coughs caused by a bout of rainfall.
The unearthing reveals once more the extent of corporate greed. Large companies, even today, often get called up because of questionable chemicals and products used in their popular products. Back then, who knows how many children took heroin as the go-to drug for a slight cold.
To learn more about controversies surrounding Beyer, go to Drugwatch.com