Daniel Carlat, MDDr. Carlat has disclosed that he has no significant relationships with or financial interests in any commercial companies pertaining to this educational activity.
Although heroin-then known as diacetylmorphine-was first derived from morphine in England in 1874, it was the Bayer company in Germany that saw its commercial value as a cough remedy and pain reliever. Employees who were asked to test it said it made them feel "heroisch" (heroic)-hence the brand name Heroin. Bayer began marketing the drug in 1898, advertising it widely and distributing free samples to physicians. Sales were initially brisk, but slowed as evidence of tolerance and addiction accumulated. Bayer stopped making the drug in 1913, but by then it had established a new blockbuster analgesic that it had given the brand name of Aspirin. Perhaps not surprisingly, this chapter of Bayer's history is absent from the corporate story that appears on its website.