The first major product marketed by Bayer was Acetylsalicylic acid, which was later to become what is commonly known as Aspirin. The trademark cross appeared on Bayer Aspirin as they were prohibited from putting the manufacturer's name on the product and it was a good way for people to recognise the brand. After World War I, many of the Bayer assets and trademarks were confiscated by the United States and Canada to later be recuperated by the company.
In the 1970s Bayer acquired the Canadian laboratories which owned Alka Seltzer, and later bought back the rights to its trademark, which incorporated the word 'Bayer' spelt horizontally and vertically on each tablet.
There is more information about the history of Bayer on their website.
The Bayer HealthCare division generated sales of over €17 billion in 2011. Two of their best-selling products are Levitra, a treatment for erectile dysfunction which is co-marketed by various pharmaceutical companies as pills and orodispersible tablets; and Yasmin, one of the most popular combined oral contraceptives. In addition, Bayer manufactures a number of other birth control pills, including Microgynon, Dianette, Qlaira, Femodene and Femodette. Bayer is also the manufacturer of Levonelle, an emergency contraception pill.
Bayer is currently involved in a number of social programmes across Britain including the United Nations Environmental Programme and has for the last ten years been included in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. Bayer is also involved in a number of corporate responsibility programmes including social issues in relation to their employees and services. Bayer currently funds a number of educational, cultural community projects.
Bayer AG is now a holding company which controls four limited companies: Bayer CropScience AG; Bayer HealthCare AG; Bayer MaterialScience AG and Bayer Chemicals AG. Bayer HealthCare invested €2 billion in medication research in 2010, to be spread amongst its five divisions.
The Animal Health division supplies veterinary medications; the Consumer Care division offers over-the-counter medication as well as nutritional supplements; the Diabetes Care division has been providing leading diabetes treatments for over 40 years; the Radiology section provides interventional and equipment support in radiology; and the Bayer HealthCare Pharma section supplies prescription medication including medication and women's health products and is the leading pharmaceutical company in Germany.