Although Bayer now manufactures and sells the popular contraceptives Yaz, Yasmin and Mirena, all were originally developed by the German company Berlex Laboratories. Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceutical purchased Berlex in 2006 and has continued production, marketing and sales of the drugs and IUD since.
Bayer AG was originally founded in Barmen, Germany in 1863. They rank as one of the 10 largest pharmaceutical firms in the world, operating in more than 50 countries with more than 5,000 employees. Bayer produces everything from over-the-counter drugs to pesticides and veterinary medicines.
Many in the United States associate Bayer with the invention of Aspirin. In addition, they developed Heroin, for which they held a patent until World War I. The extremely addictive drug was originally sold as a remedy for coughing. The company has also developed livestock and poultry vaccines shown to cause gastrointestinal disorders in humans and pesticides which have led to the contamination of food crops.
Most shocking, however, is Bayer’s relation with the Nazi Party in Germany and association with numerous war crimes and human rights violations.
After surrendering its assets, trademarks and holdings in the United States, Canada and other countries for war reparations following World War I, Bayer continued to thrive in Germany. They later became a member of IG Farben, an association of German chemical industry giants that provided a large part of the financial support for the Nazi party.
IG Farben and Bayer controlled more than 42% of the chemical company that manufactured Zyklon B, an agent used in the gas chambers of Auschwitz and other extermination camps. Bayer also used extensive amounts of slave labor during World War II in factories connected to concentration camps in order to continue its operations during the war.
Following the war, IG Farben was broken up by the Allied Forces due to its involvement in Nazi war crimes and Bayer reformed as an independent company. In 1956, Bayer named Fritz ter Meer as chairman of the company after he served seven years in prison for convictions at the Nuremberg trials for helping carry out experiments on human subjects at Auschwitz.
More recent history of Bayer includes findings by a U.N. panel that the company helped finance the Civil War in the Congo with illegal trade of the mineral coltan; the mass infection of thousands of hemophiliacs with the HIV virus; its settlement of charges of fraud on the U.S. government; or its decision to de-list itself from both the New York Stock Exchange and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
For more information on Bayer, the side effects of Yaz, Yasmin or Mirena, or to speak with a lawyer, contact us today.