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G. D. Searle & Company

G.D. Searle & Company or just Searle was a company focusing on life sciences, specifically pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and animal health. It is now part of Pfizer.


Searle was founded in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1888. The founder was Gideon Daniel Searle. In 1908, the company was incorporated in Chicago. In 1941, the company established headquarters in Skokie, Illinois. It was acquired by the Monsanto company in 1985. Pharmacia Corporation was created in April 2000 through the merger of Pharmacia & Upjohn (itself the result of the merger of Pharmacia and Upjohn) with the Monsanto Company and its G.D. Searle unit. The merged company was based in Peapack, New Jersey. Pfizer acquired Pharmacia in 2003 and retired the Searle name.

G.D. Searle & Company's chairman was William L. Searle until 1985. William L. Searle was a Harvard graduate and Naval reservist, and was an officer in the Army Corps in the early 1950s. Directors of G.D. Searle included Andre M. de Staercke, Reuben Richards, and Arthur Wood.

Donald Rumsfeld followed Searle as CEO, and then as President, of Searle between 1977 and 1985. During his tenure at Searle, Rumsfeld reduced the number of employees in the company by 60%. The financial turnaround of the company earned him awards as the Outstanding Chief Executive Officer in the Pharmaceutical Industry from the Wall Street Transcript (1980) and Financial World (1981). In 1985, he played an instrumental role in the acquisition of G.D. Searle & Company by Monsanto.

Notable Products

The company manufactured prescription drugs and nuclear imaging optical equipment. Searle is known for its release of Enovid, the first commercial oral contraceptive, in 1960. It is also known for its release of the first bulk laxative, Metamucil, in 1934; Dramamine, for motion sickness; the COX-2 inhibitor Celebrex; Ambien for insomnia; and NutraSweet, an artificial sweetener, in 1965. It was released in 1981 by FDA.

In 1977, when Rumsfeld was CEO of the Searle corporation, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was reportedly reluctant[citation needed] to legalize aspartame (NutraSweet) because of adverse effects on animals in testing. On January 25 1981, (shortly after President Reagan took office), the previous FDA commissioner's authority was suspended, and the next month, the commissioner's job went to Dr. Arthur Hull Hayes, a medical doctor and pharmacist. In July, Hayes approved aspartame for dry foods.


Searle has often been criticized for unusual largesse toward members of the medical profession in the interest of promoting its drugs. In one often-cited instance, the company invited 300 doctors and pharmacists to Orlando, Florida for a winter weekend getaway, to promote its new drug Celebrex, a pain-killer. The company paid the doctors $500 for coming to Florida and $500 for each speech on Celebrex they gave, inviting those doctors who were most likely to promote their products.[citation needed] Searle rented out Universal Studios Theme Park for an evening for the doctors and their families. Celebrex subsequently generated roughly a billion dollars in sales during its first year on the market — the first drug ever to attain that mark in its first year out — though critics contend that it was no more effective than painkillers already on the market.[citation needed]

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "G._D._Searle_&_Company". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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