A look at Bayer AG

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Some facts about Bayer AG, one of the world's oldest drugmakers:

1. Founded in 1863 by two friends who developed affordable synthetic dyes for the textile industry.

2. Bayer gained worldwide fame after chemist Felix Hoffmann, seeking a treatment for his father's arthritis, discovered a drug in 1897 that safely reduced pain, inflammation and fever. It was launched as a powder under the brand name Aspirin in 1899 and sold in tablets starting in 1915.

3. Bayer isn't a U.S. company, though most Americans think it is. It's based in Leverkusen, Germany, where its name is pronounced BEYE'er, not BARE. Its workforce includes about 16,000 employees in the U.S. and Canada.

4. Longtime Bayer brands include One-A-Day and Flinstones vitamins, Aleve pain reliever, Alka-Seltzer for upset stomach, cold sore treatment Campho-Phenique and MiraLax and Phillips' Colon Health. Its $14.2 billion purchase of Merck Consumer late in 2014 added brands that include nonprescription Claritin allergy pills, Afrin decongestant spray, Coppertone sun care products and Dr. Scholl's foot care items. Bayer also makes Advantix flea and tick protection for dogs and antibiotic Baytril for cats and dogs.

5. Bayer ranks No. 1 in the U.S. and No. 2 globally in sales of consumer health products. It's No. 14 globally in prescription drug sales. Among diversified drugmakers, it's second only to Johnson & Johnson in total 2015 revenue, at $51 billion, according to health care consulting firm GlobalData.

6. Bayer's prescription drug unit sells medicines including antibiotic Cipro, which treats anthrax and other deadly infections; Yasmin birth control pills; the Mirena intrauterine device; erectile dysfunction pill Levitra; cancer drugs Nexavar and Stivarga, Betaseron for multiple sclerosis; hemophilia treatments Kogenate and Kovaltry; and Xarelto, the top seller among new drugs for preventing blood clots, heart attacks and strokes.

6.Bayer's crop sciences business sells Bayer Advanced and Natria home garden products to control weeds, pests and flower and vegetable diseases. It also sells farm products, including seeds and chemical and biologic treatments for increasing crop yields.