The most controversial drug of German Bayer: There was a time when it was a revolution in medicine, and today is a dangerous drug

Little is known that the rise of the German pharmaceutical company “Bayer” occurred after the company sold wholesale heroin as a remedy for various diseases worldwide.

Even less known fact is that heroin its biggest “boom” on the market has had in the 20s of the last century in Egypt. Exactly 100 years ago, heroin and cocaine was first sold in Egypt in non-medical purposes. Just two years later, in Egypt were registered half a million heroin addicts.

However, has started 42 years earlier in the British capital London, where in 1847 th year chemist Romli Charles Wright synthesized diacetylmorphine, a derivative of morphine that was two and a half times stronger than morphine.

In truth, it wasn’t a discovery, because Wright has never seen any practical application of his discovery, so it remained unknown to the general public. Until fifty years later, precisely in 1897, the chemist in the then already serious pharmaceutical company “Bayer” Heinrich Drezer has synthesized the same.


Drezer intended to examine diacetylmorphine, and miraculously was able to conclude that the compound is perfectly safe for human health, and unlike morphine is not addictive, that relieves cough, pain and helps in withdrawal from morphine addiction. All in all, it came to a revolutionary cure!

Indeed, it is ironic that all these mentioned features of the newly discovered drug were perfectly accurate, but a “little detail” – addiction.

Scientists from “Bayer” were so proud of their success, so that they were saying that they are the German new heroes, the German heroisch, so the drug got its name – heroin. From 1898 up to March 1925 year heroin became an absolute hit in world medicine.

It was so popular and even advertised as a perfect tool for treating cough in children. Tablets, aqueous solutions, syrups, there wasn’t a form that did not include this revolutionary drug. It helped to elders easier to recover from pneumonia, the children who consume heroin didn’t have trouble sleeping, and during the First World War in Britain, women could buy large packages of heroin to their men who fought in Europe.

But a few years later, it started circulating a rumor that the drug of “Bayer” wasn’t so brilliant. Already next year the German doctor Erich Harnack argued that heroin has toxic properties, and soon it became clear that heroin causes much more serious addiction than morphine.

Why the competent services across Europe and US for years did not react, it remains an open question today. Today one can find information that heroin production stopped in 1913, but many believe that it is absolutely not true.


“Bayer” ceased to produce in 1910 year, and US authorities have placed the drug under special supervision four years later, but that does not mean that heroin could no longer be sold. In fact, the only change that Western citizens rather than buy freely in pharmacies could take the drug only by prescription.

Even in 1925, the League of nations banned the sale of heroin, or diacetylmorphine, and it took another three years so the ban finally begin to fully apply worldwide.

In other words, with the revolutionary drug on the “Bayer” – heroin, the world completely “normaly” used it and drugged with it for 30 years, so Bayer has a dirty stain on its brand that simply can not be erased never.