The Doctor is Out

schering.jpg As of yesterday Berlin based Schering AG is no longer an independent company. 155 years of pharmaceutical history comes to a close as the company’s acquisition by Bayer is completed. Bayer, having won the company during a fierce takeover battle with archrival Merck, plans to rename the company “Bayer Schering Pharma AG” and to cut 6,000 jobs (a quarter of the company’s workforce). Founded in 1855 when Ernst Schering purchased a small chemist’s shop and renamed it the ‘Green Pharmacy’, Schering saw its fortune’s rise with those of the city and by 1876 it had its first

international subsidiary in New York. Its first in-house product Piperazin, a treatment for gout, was the beginning of a long line of innovative pharmaceuticals in fields as diverse as sex hormones, cancer and ‘climacteric complaints’. Schering operated throughout WWII and after 1940 even employed small numbers of forced labourers. Like the rest of Berlin, Schering’s Wedding factory and offices sustained severe damages due to the allied bombing campaign. At war’s end Schering even lost control of its trademarks and patents and had to operate under the name Berlimed (the american company Schering-Plough was formed from the siezed assets). In Berlin the company slowly rebuilt and regained its market leading position, specializing in gynaecology, nuclear medicine and oncology. Schering was the first company to introduce the oral contraceptive pill in Europe and was among Berlin’s biggest private employers. Crowning its success the company was listed on the NYSE in 2000. With the takeover by Bayer a chapter of Berlin’s history comes to a close….

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