Hoechst AG

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Hoechst AG was a German life-sciences company that became Aventis after its merger with Rhône-Poulenc S.A. in 1999. It has been called "The pharmacy of the world" due to its important role in the world's drug market.


The company was founded in 1863 as "Teerfarbenfabrik Meister, Lucius & Co." in Höchst, near Frankfurt and changed its name some years later to "Teerfarbenfabrik Meister Lucius & Brüning". In 1880 it became a stock company "Farbwerke vorm. Meister Lucius & Brüning AG". For the international market the name was simplified to "Farbwerke Hoechst AG". Until 1925 the Hoechst AG was independent. The Hoechst AG was one of the co-founders. of IG Farben, founded 1916, a pressure group of Germany's chemicals industry to gain industrial power during WW I and afterwards. In 1925 the IG Farben turned from a pressure group into a the well known conglomerate and was split up in 1951 into its founder companies. The Hoechst AG was re-founded on December 7, 1951 in Frankfurt. The original capitalization of the company was 100,000 Deutsche Mark.

1987 - Hoechst acquired the American chemical company Celanese and formed a new Hoechst subsidiary in the US, Hoechst Celanese.

1994 - The U.S. National Right to Life Committee announced a U.S. boycott of all Hoechst pharmaceutical products including Altace.

1994 (September 17) - Pharmacists For Life International joins the international boycott, "...against the American subsidiary of Hoechst, AG Hoechst-Roussel, Hoechst-Celanese, its generic subsidiary Coply Pharmaceuticals and the agricultural Hoechst subsidiary" while asking U.S. consumers to "focus on key Hoechst drugs which have the most economic impact rather than taking an across-the-board shotgun approach" and specifically listing Altace as a boycott list item.[1]

1995 - Hoechst mergers with Marion Merrill Dow of Kansas City, Missouri forming U.S. subsidiary Hoechst Marion Roussel (HMR). Altace was bringing in under $90 million in revenues for Hoechst and Hoechst had stopped promoting Altace within the United States.[2]

1995 - The King Pharmaceuticals President Jefferson "Jeff" Gregory first begins negotiations with Hoechst to acquire U.S. distribution rights to Altace.[3]

1997 - Hoechst underwent a realignment wherein its various businesses were transferred to independent companies, including Nutrinova and Clariant.

1997 (April 2) - The anti-abortion group Concerned Women For America announces at a National Right To Life Committee press briefing at the National Press Club that the anti-RU486 boycott against the U.S. subsidiaries of Hoechst AG & Roussel Uclaf by the NRTLC "...will be more narrowly focused onto the HMR prescription drugs Allegra, Cardizem, Seldane, Claforan, Lasix, DiaBeta, and Nicoderm" - and Altace is auspiciously no longer included by Concerned Women For Americas as a boycotted Hoechst Marion Roussel product.[4]

1998 (December 18) - The King Pharmaceuticals wholly owned subsidiary Monarch Pharmaceuticals, Inc. acquires ownership of U.S. distribution rights to Altace and other Hoechst products from Hoechst AG subsidiary Hoechst Marion Roussel of Kansas City, Missouri.[5]

1999 (December 7) - Hoechst and Rhone-Poulenc Settle Federal Trade Commission charges that merger would violate U.S. antitrust laws;

1999 - Aventis was formed when Hoechst AG merged with Rhône-Poulenc S.A. The merged company was based in Strasbourg, France. As part of the merger, the company demerged many of its industrial businesses into Celanese, which became an independent company again.


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