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This article is about the corporation. For other uses of the word see Wyeth (disambiguation)
Public (NYSE: WYE)
FoundedPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania (1860)
HeadquartersMadison, New Jersey, United States
Key peopleRobert Essner, Chairman & CEO
Bernard J. Poussot,President and Vice Chairman of Wyeth
Joseph Mahady, President, Global Business, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals
John Wyeth, Founder
(See more products.)
Revenue$20.4 billion USD (2006)
Employees49,732 (2005)

Wyeth, formerly known as American Home Products (AHP), is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Corporate headquarters are in Madison, New Jersey, but its pharmaceutical division, which comprises the bulk of Wyeth's revenue and profits, is run out of Collegeville, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. They are known for manufacturing the over-the-counter (OTC) drugs Robitussin and the analgesic Advil (ibuprofen), as well as the prescription drugs Premarin and Effexor, which both boast over $3 billion in sales annually.




In 1860, pharmacists John and Frank Wyeth opened a drugstore with a small research lab. In 1862, on the suggestion of doctors, they began to manufacture large quantities of commonly ordered medicines. They were successful, and in 1864 they began supplying medicines and beef extract to the Union army during the Civil War.

In 1872, Henry Bower, an employee of Wyeth, developed one of the first rotary compressed tablet machines in the United States. This enabled the mass production of medicines with unprecedented precision and speed. It was massively successful, and the Wyeth brothers won multiple awards at the Centennial Exhibition. In 1883, Wyeth opened its first foreign facility in Montreal, Canada and began vaccine production. Six years later, a fire destroyed the brothers' original Walnut Street store; the brothers sold the retail business and began focusing on mass-production.


John Wyeth died in 1907 and his only son, Stuart, became the company's president. American Home Products, the holding company now known as Wyeth, was incorporated on February 4th, 1926. The Whitehall building in downtown Manhattan became the corporation's first headquarters. Global sales became stronger due to the sales of Wyeth's Kolynos brand of toothpaste. In 1929, Stuart Wyeth died and left controlling interest to Harvard University.


In 1930, Wyeth purchased Anacin, a product for tension headaches which quickly became the company's flagship product. One year later, Harvard sold Wyeth to American Home Products for $2.9 million.

In 1935, Alvin G. Brush, a Certified Public Accountant, became CEO of the entire organization and would serve for thirty years. Under Brush's leadership, 34 new companies were acquired in the next fifteen years, including Chef Boyardee and the S.M.A. Corporation, a pharmaceutical firm specializing in innovative infant formulas. Wyeth also made its first licensing deal, acquiring an antibiotic for arthritis vaccine research.

In 1941, the United States entered World War II, and Wyeth shipped typical wartime drugs such as sulfa bacteriostatics, blood plasma, typhus vaccine, quinine, and atabrine tablets. Wyeth was later rewarded for its contribution to the war effort. During this time, Wyeth launched its penicillin research facility with G. Raymond Rettew.

In 1943, Wyeth purchased G. Washington Coffee Refining Company, an instant coffee company created by George Washington.

In 1943, Wyeth merged with Ayerst, McKenna and Harrison, Ltd. of Canada. With this merger came Premarin, the world's first conjugated estrogen medicine, which to this day is one of Wyeth's flagship products. Wyeth was one of 22 companies selected by the government in 1944 to manufacture penicillin for the military, and later for the general public.

In 1945, Wyeth acquired the Fort Dodge Serum Company, thus entering the animal health field, in which they are still active to this day.


In 1951, Wyeth launched Antabuse, a drug for the treatment of alcoholism, as well as the antihistamine Phenergan. Ansolyen was launched the next year as a high blood pressure medication. The anticonvulsant Mysoline was introduced in 1954. Other drugs introduced during this time include Isordil, a vasodilator for treatment of angina, Dryvax, a freeze-dried smallpox vaccine, and Ovral, a combined oral contraceptive pill. Pharmaceuticals were generating an ever-increasing percentage of Wyeth's sales.

Wyeth became a leading US vaccine producer after supplying polio vaccine for Salk trials. The corporate headquarters were moved to Radnor, Pennsylvania, where they remained until 2003. William F. Laporte became the Chairman and President of AHP in 1965, and served until 1981.

The World Health Organization initiated the Global Smallpox Eradication Program in 1967, and approached Wyeth to develop a better injection system for smallpox vaccines which could be used in the field. Wyeth waived patent royalties on its innovative bifurcated needle, aiding in the delivery of over 200 million smallpox vaccines per year.


Wyeth's oral contraceptives became extremely popular in the US. John W. Culligan, after becoming Chairman and CEO in 1981, spun off less profitable lines and focused resources on consumer and prescription drugs. Wyeth made history in 1984 with the introduction of Advil, the first nonprescription ibuprofen in America, as well as the most famous prescription-to-OTC switch in history.

John R. Stafford became CEO and Chairman in 1986. He completed the divestiture of non-core businesses such as household products, foods, and candy. Wyeth and Ayerst merged to form Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, thus strengthening and consolidating Wyeth's pharmaceutical operations.

In the late 1980s, Wyeth acquired the animal health businesses of Bristol-Myers and Parke-Davis. David J. Richards, M.D. was appointed to the Vice President position. Wyeth also acquired A.H. Robins, makers of Robitussin, ChapStick, Dimetapp, and the Dalkon Shield.


Premarin becomes the #1 prescribed drug in the US in 1993. Effexor (venlafaxine HCl), the first serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), is introduced for the treatment of clinical depression and is later indicated for generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder.

In 1993 Wyeth founded the Women's Health Research Institute, the only institute in the pharmaceutical industry entirely dedicated to reasearch in women's health. The Institute conducts trials in menopausal issues, endometriosis, contraception, and more.

In 1994 Wyeth acquired American Cyanamid and its subsidiary Lederle Laboratories. This acquisition brought the Lederle Praxis vaccines, new research and development capacity, and Centrum, the leading US multivitamin. Wyeth's sales topped $13 billion in 1995; two years later, Premarin became the company's first brand to reach $1 billion in sales.

In 1995 Wyeth acquired the animal health division of Solvay, which was folded into Fort Dodge Animal Health. The acquisition gave Fort Dodge Animal Health strong market presence in Europe and Asia as well as expanding its product portfolio to include swine and poultry vaccines.

In 1997 Wyeth's controversial diet drug fenfluramine was taken off the market by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after several reports of deaths and other health problems associated with the drug combination known as fen-phen occurred.

In 1998 American Home Products was left at the altar by British pharma powerhouse SmithKline Beecham, who pulled the plug on the estimated $70 billion merger. The deal was reportedly killed in response to British regulators who feared losing jobs to a proposed US headquarters location. (SmithKline Beecham merged with fellow Brit Glaxo Wellcome in 1999 to form the world's leading drug company.) This was the start of a three-year losing streak in the mergers and acquisitions game for AHP.

In 1999 another American Home Products merger fell through, this time a proposed $34 billion merger-of-equals with chemical and biotech manufacturer Monsanto. Though the companies issued a combined statement saying the breakup was mutual "because (the deal) was not in the best interests of shareholders," rumors circulated that AHP had canceled the deal due to issues in the soon-to-be-combined boardroom. (Monsanto announced in December of 1999 that it would merge with Pharmacia & Upjohn instead; the new conglomerate eventually unloaded Monsanto again, before being bought themselves by Pfizer in 2003.)


  • In 2000 American Home Products lost a $65 billion friendly takeover bid for rival drug company Warner-Lambert in their most dramatic merger loss yet. After the merger announcement, Pfizer offered a competing hostile bid, primarily to save their half of a Lipitor joint venture with Warner (at the time the #1 prescription drug in the world). At one point talks were under way in which Procter & Gamble would help by buying both companies in a wild three-way merger, a rumor which cost P&G a 10% drop in its stock price. Eventually, despite both CEOs going on tour to defend the deal to shareholders, Pfizer won Warner-Lambert and formed the second largest drug company in the world, while AHP had to settle for a $1.8 billion poison pill payment.
  • Robert Essner, the company's current CEO, was appointed in 2001. On September 27, 2007, the Wyeth Board of Directors elected Mr. Bernard Poussot President and Chief Executive Officer effective on January 1, 2008. [1]
  • In 2002, American Home Products changed its name to Wyeth, having spun off unrelated businesses in order to focus on pharmaceuticals.[1]
  • As part of the Women's Health Initiative sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, a large-scale clinical trial for Hormone Replacement Therapy showed that long-term use of progestin and estrogen may increase the risk of strokes, heart attacks, blood clots, and breast cancer. Following these results, Wyeth experienced a significant decline in its sales of Premarin, Prempro (conjugated equine estrogens) and related hormones[citation needed], from over $2 billion in 2002 to just over $1 billion in 2006.[2] The results from the study were significant enough that Wyeth terminated the trials early due to a fear that their participants may be at risk.
  • Wyeth, as a corporation, filed a 'citizens complaint' with the United States FDA on October 16, 2005,[3] requesting that the US FDA take action against pharmacies who compound, manufacture, or sell unlicensed bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) drugs to their patients. Specifically, Wyeth asserted that the BRHT drugs are not licensed by the FDA according to section 505 of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, misbranded and adulterated per sections 501 and 502 of 21 U.S.C. (paragraphs 351, 352, and 355).[4] Drug manufacturers are required to demonstrate through clinical trials that marketed drugs are safe and efficacious, a process that BHRT drugs have not undergone. If honored, the request would require the same safety and efficacy data for those primarily engaged in alternative medicine.
  • The European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection blamed the presence of illegal steroids in the food supply on "fraudulent exchange and disposal of pharmaceutical waste". A Wyeth factory disposing of the byproducts from synthetic progesterone manufacture was the source of the contamination. [5]
  • In 2003 Wyeth reportedly contributed funds to a not-for-profit support group, The Meningitis Centre, which lobbies the Australian Government to introduce universal immunisation against pneumococcal disease.[6]. Wyeth produces the only pneumococcal vaccine approved for young children in Australia.


Wyeth Consumer Healthcare

Wyeth Consumer Healthcare (formerly Whitehall-Robins Consumer Healthcare) operates in over 65 countries. The division had sales of $2.5 billion in 2004 and is the fifth largest over-the-counter health products company in the world.

Wyeth Pharmaceuticals

Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, formerly Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, is the original company founded by the Wyeth brothers, originally known as John Wyeth and Brother. They focus on the research, develop, and marketing of prescription drugs. The pharmaceuticals division is further subdivided into five subdivisions: Wyeth Research, Prescription Products, Biotech, Vaccines, and Nutritionals.

Fort Dodge Animal Health

Fort Dodge Animal Health was founded in 1912 as "Fort Dodge Serum Company". The company was established in Fort Dodge, Iowa, to manufacture hog cholera serum. It became a division of American Home Products (now Wyeth) in 1945. They are a leading manufacturer of prescription and over-the-counter vaccines and pharmaceuticals for veterinary medicine as well as livestock. Its global headquarters are located in Overland Park, Kansas.

Innovative Fort Dodge products include West Nile-Innovator, Duramune Adult, CYDECTIN Pour-on, the Pyramid vaccine line, Quest Gel, and EtoGesic Tablets.


Wyeth Consumer Healthcare Products

  • Advil
  • Advil PM
  • Alavert
  • Caltrate
  • Centrum
  • ChapStick
  • Dimetapp
  • Dristan
  • Preparation H
  • Robitussin

Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Products

  • (US) Product list
  • Premarin (conjugated estrogen tablets) — Estrogen HRT for menopausal women
  • Premarin Vaginal Cream (conjugated estrogens) indicated to treat vaginal dryness at menopause
  • Effexor XR (venlafaxine HCl) — an SNRI for clinical depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Ativan (lorazepam) — a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and certain seizures
  • Protonix (pantoprazole) — a proton pump inhibitor for treating dyspepsia, duodenal ulcers and Oesophagitis
  • Enbrel (etanercept) — a drug approved for Psoriasis and various forms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Torisel (temsirolimus) — a drug approved for the treatment of Renal Cell Carcinoma (a type of cancer).
  • Tygacil (tigecycline) — an antibiotic developed for treatment of intra-abdominal and skin / tissue infections caused by resistant pathogens such as MRSA
  • Zosyn (piperacillin/tazobactam) — another intravenous antibiotic used mainly in intensive care medicine. Also known as Tazocin in some countries.

Fort Dodge Animal Health Products

  • Barricade
  • Biodectin Sheep Vaccine and wormer (moxidectin)
  • Bursine-2/Bursine Plus/Bursine K Poultry Vaccines
  • Cefa-Lak/Cefa-Dri
  • CYDECTIN (moxidectin)
  • Dicural
  • Duramune Dog Vaccines
  • Duvaxyn Horse Vaccines
  • EtoGesic Tablets
  • Ewegaurd Sheep Vaccine and wormer (moxidectin)
  • Fel-O-Guard Cat Vaccines
  • Fel-O-Vax Cat Vaccines
  • Fluvac Innovator Horse Vaccine
  • GiardiaVax Dog Vaccine
  • Ketaset
  • LeptoVax Dog Vaccine
  • LymeVax Dog Vaccine
  • Nolvasan
  • PestVac Pig Vaccine
  • Pinnacle I.N. Horse Vaccine
  • Pneumobort Horse Vaccine
  • Polyflex
  • Poulvac Poultry Vaccines
  • Presponse Cattle Vaccines
  • Proheart 6/Proheart SR-12 (moxidectin) Heartworm preventative
  • Provac Poultry Vaccines
  • PYRAMID Cattle Vaccines
  • Quest/Equest Gel (moxidectin)
  • Rabon Ear Tags for Cattle
  • Rabvac Rabies Vaccine for Dogs
  • Supona
  • Suvaxyn Pig Vaccines
  • Synanthic
  • SYNOVEX Implants
  • Telazol
  • Torbugesic-SA
  • Triangle Cattle Vaccines
  • TriReo Poultry Vaccine
  • Vetdectin (moxidectin) (New Zealand)
  • Weanergaurd Sheep Vaccine and wormer (moxidectin)
  • Websters Cattle, Sheep and Poultry Vaccines (Australia)
  • West Nile Innovater Horse Vaccine


On 1 July, 2006, Wyeth launched Prevnar — its international vaccine for Invasive Pneumococcal Disease (IPD) — in India. Prevnar is the first and only pneumococcal conjugate vaccine for infants and children which protects against pneumococcal disease like meningitis, bacterial pneumonia, septicaemia and bacteraemia (bacteria in the blood.)


  1. ^ See Wyeth's investor FAQ.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Wyeth". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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