various articles, June 1998

100 Years of Heroin from BAYER - History of a "Cough Medicine"

Before the drug heroin was finally forbidden in 1971, heroin had already been in use for over 70 years as a drug in medications. What only few know: the pharmaceutical company BAYER developed the dangerous addictive drug.

The company trademarked the name of the substance in 1898.
The opiate with the medical name "diacetylmorphine" was known as heroin from then on. The English chemist C.R. Wright discovered it, but BAYER was the first company to mass produce the substance
(a mixture of morphine and acetic acid). BAYER began an advertising campaign in 1900; ads praised the medication across the globe in 12 languages. BAYER sent thousands of free samples to doctors.
BAYER advertised heroin as a cough medicine for children saying the medicine was harmless, does not create dependency, and even helped cure colic in children. Heroin soon became a best seller. Heroin was no longer available on the market beginning in 1958 (much to BAYER's chagrin). An illegal drug scene developed soon after and the first victims of illegal heroin use were reported. By the way, MERCK and HOECHST unscrupulously sell the raw material acetanhydrid, which initially enables the production of black market heroin.

BAYER's plans in Taiwan canceled!

The critics of the planned BAYER plant in Taiwan have achieved a great success. The company was forced to abandon its plans due to the international work of the COALITION, the December election results in Taiwan, and the release of a decision by the Taichung provincial meeting. The chemical company based in Leverkusen stopped the 500 million German Mark investment. The plant will no longer be built!

The company actually wanted to begin building the second largest plant in the world (a capacity of approx. 100,000 annual tons) in the Taiwanese seaport town of Taichung in order to supply the entire East Asian region with plastic raw products. The local resistance in Taichung as well as the international work of the COALITION have finally forced BAYER to forget this strategic project.

The provincial meeting refused to make a definitive decision on the project on December 19th without inclusion of the interests of local citizens. BAYER immediately reacted to the news. After the company claimed in a press conference in Hong Kong on November 30th that construction of the TDI plant could begin on February 1998, the categorical STOP on further negotiations came from Leverkusen on December 18th. BAYER press officer Reinert claimed, "The negotia-
tions in Taiwan have been interrupted ... We are deeply disappointed that our intense efforts to convince the Taiwanese authorities of the advantages of a BAYER plant in Taiwan have been unsuccessful. We will begin with our alternative plans to build in Baytown, America immediately." The financial market's reaction did not take very long. BAYER stock dropped on the Frankfurt stock market 1.85 German Marks or 3% the same day the Taiwan flop was publicized.

Five new pesticides on the PIC list

The Prior Informed Consent (PIC) proceedings, developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Environ- mental Programme (UNEP) allows so-called "developing countries" to forbid the import of certain dangerous chemicals.
The PIC list was amended to include 4 new active pesticide substances: methamidophos, parathion and parathionmethyl as well as the active substances in BAYER pesticides TAMARON, E 605 FORTE, ECOMBI and ME 605. According to an FAO report, 48,000 pesticide poisonings occurred last year in China alone - 3,204 of which were fatal.

WBCSD allows BAYER to become a member

Bayer has recently joined the WORLD BUSINESS COUNCIL FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (WBCSD) as a "leading ecological company" (quote from the "Frankfurter Allgemeine"). BAYER is among good company; other members of the WBCSD are NESTLE, DOW CHEMICAL, MONSANTO, SHELL and UNILEVER. The lobby organization Global Players was founded in 1992 to represent the companies' views at the World Conference in Rio. They tried to prove their ecological conscience with the brochure "Signals for Change: Business Progress for Sustainable Development", published just in time for the successor to the Rio conference in New York. The brochure had the audacity to focus on their exporting to Third World countries and the growing globalization as proof of the companies' ecological reorientation. The WBCSD is presently trying to get a foothold in the UN and limit the non-governmental organization's influence.

Global Deregulations

"Authorized in one country; authorized everywhere": the Transatlantic Business Dialogue (TABD) prescribed this (de)regulation on all kinds of goods. Business representatives of Europe and the US meet regularly to conduct bilateral negotiations and are in illustrious com-
pany - among the participants is the BAYER chairman of the board
Dr. Manfred Schneider. An agreement (Mutual Recognition Agree-
ments) on regulating pharmaceuticals, medicine, telecommunication and electronics was reached shortly before the EU summit in Amsterdam. For BAYER, this means that the authorization of a new medication by the American FDA also means authorization on the European market. This not only cuts out the bureaucratic red tape, but could also lead to more Americanized (looser) regulations in the EU for products such as genetically modified pharmaceutical products.


The BAYER subsidiary HAARMANN & REIMER, which manufactures olfactory and taste substances, pleaded guilty to the American Department of Justice in 1996 to having created a price monopoly with other manufacturers of citric acid. Instead of paying compensation claims to victimized companies, HAARMANN & REIMER wanted to pacify them with a payment $46 million. However, KRAFT, UNILEVER and PROCTER & GAMBLE turned down the offer and pressed charges. The EU anti-trust commission have now begun an investigation.