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Sterling Drug

Sterling Drug was a global pharmaceutical company based in the United States, later known as Sterling-Winthrop, Inc., whose primary product lines included diagnostic imaging agents, hormonal products, cardiovascular products, analgesics, antihistamines and muscle relaxants.

It was started in 1901 (then called Neuralgyline Co.) in Wheeling, West Virginia, by Albert H. Diebold and William E. Weiss, a pharmacist.[1] In 1918, at the end of World War I, the U.S. assets of the German company now called Bayer AG were sold to Sterling for US$5.3 million (directed under the Alien Property Custodian Act). At the time Sterling, like many other pharmaceutical manufactures, was in the dye business, and sold that division for $2.5 million in 1919 to the Grasselli Chemical Company (based in Linden, New Jersey), which employed many former Bayer personnel.[2] An October 1920 agreement between Sterling and the German Bayer (called "Farbenfabriken Bayer in Leverkusen" under the direction of Carl Duisberg of I.G. Farbenindustrie) allowed Sterling to sell aspirin under the Bayer name. In return, Bayer was allowed back into its old Latin-American markets. In 1922, 50% of Sterling's new holding company, Winthrop, was given to the German Bayer company, while the American Bayer was allowed to continue using the Bayer name.[3] In 1923 Sterling purchased a 1/4 interest in The Centaur Company, manufacturers of Charles Henry Fletcher's, Fletcher's Castoria (New York Times, Feb 9, 1923, Page 24, Col 1).

In 1988, Sterling was acquired by Eastman Kodak for $5.1 billion. In 1993, Eastman Kodak/Sterling Winthrop made a partnership with French pharmaceutical company Elf Sanofi (now known as Sanofi Aventis). In 1994, Sanofi acquired the prescription drug operations of Sterling Winthrop from Eastman Kodak for US$1.675 billion, and then it sold the diagnostic-imaging division a week later to Hafslund Nycomed AS, a Norwegian company, for US$450 million.[4] Kodak then completely owned the over-the-counter drug business, including Bayer Aspirin and the U.S. rights to the Bayer name and trademarks, and sold them to SmithKline Beecham for US$1 billion, who then sold it back to Bayer AG in 1994 for US$1 billion.[5][6] Spinoffs from the sale of Sterling include Starwin Products, created in 1987 from Sterling’s original branch in Ghana.

Further reading

Ambruster, H. W. (1947). Treason’s Peace: German Dyes and American Dupes, The Beechhurst Press, New York.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Sterling_Drug". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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