German Pharmaeuctical Industry pre-war

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
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stg 44
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Location: illinois

German Pharmaeuctical Industry pre-war

Post by stg 44 » 17 Sep 2015 14:51

Does anyone have any idea how much the German pharmaceutical industry was prevalent in world trade pre-war? I' was listening to a podcast about the history of US drug policy and they mentioned how the Germans dominated Latin America and it was the blockade against that led the US pharmaceutical industry to become the global giant it is now, as they had to step up and fill the hole left by Germany (and they took a bunch of German patents post-war).

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Leo Niehorster
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Location: Hangover, Germany

Re: German Pharmaeuctical Industry pre-war

Post by Leo Niehorster » 18 Sep 2015 10:11

Many examples abound. Before the war, IG Farben was the largest chemical conglomerate in the world, owning well-known companies such as Agfa, BASF, Bayer, Hoechst, etc. The worldwide dominance of the German chemistry industry at that time is difficult to trace, as some overseas components were confiscated during or after WW2, and renamed. Others merged. Companies formed to hide cooperative agreements with Allied companies. The usual wiggling around that one expects of multi-national corporations.

My uncle, a doctor, mentioned to me that before WW2, just about all medicine, chemistry, and physics books in Holland were in German. And look at the chemical patents and products of those days.

The Nazi's really dropped the ball when they started to persecute the Jews, as were many of the leading pharmaceutical minds were Jewish, and these either fled Germany, or were slaughtered by the Holocaust. Even today, some seventy-odd years after those events, Germany is still recovering from this massive "brain drain".
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