Aspirin will loom largein World Cup shindigBMJ 2006; 332 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.332.7545.814-a (Published 06 April 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:814
All rapid responses
Your leader quotes Werner Wenning, chairman of Bayer, saying: "We are
happy that the aspirin sculpture is being used as a symbol of the
achievements of the German pharmaceutical industry." Leidig continues:
…"before the chemist Felix Hoffman, who worked for Bayer, synthesised
A BMJ paper* showed the truth is somewhat different§.
In a 1949 paper, Eichengrün, a colleague of Hoffman, claimed that he had
instructed Hoffmann to synthesise acetylsalicylic acid and Hoffmann had
so without knowing the purpose of the work. In 1944, while in
concentration camp, Eichengrün had typed a letter (now in the Bayer
very similar to his 1949 paper. He said that his objective had been to
salicylate that would not give rise to the adverse effects (gastric
tinnitus) associated with sodium salicylate.
In a commemorative volume marking Bayer's 50th anniversary Arthur
Eichengrün pointed out that after examining acetylsalicylic acid Dreser (
Bayer scientist at the time) had set it aside for nearly 18 months until
again became involved with it in 1898. Dreser, (who contributed the
article in the same publication), never disputed this statement. It is
that Bayer AG still do not accept the rightful role of Arthur Eichengrün
detailed in these references.
“Sic transit gloria mundi.”
*Sneader W. The discovery of aspirin: a reappraisal BMJ
§ Pearce JMS. The disputed origins of aspirin. In: Pearce JMS.
Neurological History. London, Imperial College Press. 2003. Pp.513-17.
Competing interests: No competing interests