The College of Physicians of Philadelphia Digital Library

Bayer Company

"Bayer" Pharmaceutical & Technical Products "Bayer" Pharmaceutical & Technical Products

The German company Bayer began selling its branded "Heroin" when chemists wished to find a cough suppressant that was not addictive like the then popular drugs morphine and codeine. Diacetylmorphine was created and Bayer began using the drug in their "Heroin" pills, the name having come from testers who said they felt "heroic" under its influence. They began selling the drug in 1898 and gave out free samples and promotional materials to doctors.  The American Medical Association approved the drug in 1907, and Bayer began exporting it. An article in the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal in 1900 claimed that "[Bayer Heroin] possesses many advantages over morphine. It’s not hypnotic, and there’s no danger of acquiring a habit."

However, Bayer knew quickly that the drug was addictive, and by 1900 had begun producing "Aspirin." By 1913, a year before the FDA began restricting heroin use in medicines, Bayer had phased out their "Heroin" pills and relied on "Aspirin" for their pain reliever sales. It was not until 1924 that the manufacture of heroin was completely prohibited in the United States. The pamphlet featured here includes an entry on heroin on page 11.