This lengthy investigation into the history of Bayer’s unethical practices was prompted by the proposed expansion of its plant in Berkeley in the 90s. I’m republishing it now due to the proposed sale of Monsanto to Bayer AG. In addition to examining Bayer’s major role during the Nazi period, the article looks at other human rights and environmental violations by the company.
In all the local media reports of the need for haste by the City of Berkeley to finalize its negotiations with Miles Cutter Laboratories for a 30 year development agreement, very little has been said about the parent organization, the giant German pharmaceutical company, Bayer AG. Bayer (the phonetic spelling of the German pronunciation is Buy-er) reported worldwide sales of $23.3 billion in 1989. Aside from their famous trademark name for aspirin, Bayer is probably best known as the “inventor” of heroin, which they originally promoted as a cough suppressant for children, and the development of methadone, which they called Dolophine after Adolf Hitler. Not many people are aware, however, of Bayer’s complicity in World War II in the sale of Zyclon B gas, used to murder 12,000,000 concentration camp inmates (including 6,000,000 Jews), or of Bayer’s use of camp inmates to conduct lethal medical “experiments.”