Segments in this Video

Why Does Aspirin Work? (02:58)


In 1971, scientists learn why and how aspirin works as a pain reliever. Aspirin lowers the risk of blood clots and of heart disease. Research suggests that aspirin is effective in the fight against cancer.

Discovery of Aspirin REVIEW THIS new title (02:26)

It is likely that acetylsalicylic acid was synthesized in Germany under Arthur Eichengruen's direction, according to a letter he wrote from Terezin prison in 1944.

Bayer AG: Pain Killers (02:34)

In the 19th century, many different products purport to relieve pain with elixirs containing coca plant, morphine, alcohol, and more. Salicylic acid is used, but its side effects are intolerable. The search was on for something better.

Creation of Aspirin (04:45)

In 1897, through the process of synthesis, Felix Hoffman creates an artificial compound without the nasty side effects of salicylic acid. Dr. Walter Sneader of the University of Strathclyde concludes that Hoffman did not act alone.

19th-Century Painkillers: Aspirin and Heroin (04:33)

Eichengruen's story is revealed in a letter he wrote from Terezin prison camp. Heinrich Dresser, Bayer executive, dismisses aspirin and chooses heroin as a painkiller. He declares it safe for use.

Aspirin Passes the Tests (02:53)

Arthur Eichengruen takes the aspirin drug himself and then has it tested on patients. Bayer thoroughly tests aspirin, and Heinrich Dresser takes credit for the project and becomes a very rich man.

How Did Aspirin Get Its Name? (03:11)

Aspirin's name is made up of parts that when put together became aspirin. Whose name is on the U.S. patent? Whose name is on the German patent application? The mystery deepens.

Bayer's Success with Aspirin (03:34)

Aspirin's formula is remarkably stable. Bayer markets aspirin in a mass mailing to physicians. It is soon marketed globally and taken by millions of people worldwide. Eichengruen is promoted and oversees the development of many new products.

Eichengruen's Inventions in WWI (01:47)

Arthur Eichengruen starts his own company in Berlin and develops new products that lead the way to synthetic fireproof plastics used widely in WWI gas masks. By age 53, he is a rich man.

Stripped of Recognition (04:11)

IG Farben, a German chemical industry conglomerate masterminded by Eichengruen's colleague at Bayer, back the Nazi party. Felix Hoffman's name is attached to aspirin, and Eichengruen, the Jew, is written out of history.

Campaign of Terror against Jews (03:09)

In November 1938 the Nazis launch a reign of terror against the Jews. In the same year, the Nazis close Eichengruen's business and confiscate his money. In 1944, at age 77, he is taken to Terezin and imprisoned.

Eichengruen in Terezin Prison (04:23)

Terezin in Czechoslovakia , is converted into a prison camp. The Red Cross is fooled into approving the camp. Prisoners are allowed access to music, education, and the arts. Eichengruen writes his personal history in the camp.

Eichengruen's Revelation (04:03)

During the War, IG Farben is the major industrial backer to the Nazi regime. Eichengruen writes his letter in 1944 in which he explains his vital role in the development of aspirin.

Eichengruen: Post-War Years (03:54)

In 1945, Eichengruen, released from Terizin, returns to Berlin to discover his home was destroyed. The controversy over his role in the development of aspirin remains unsolved.

Credits: Aspirin (00:34)

Credits: Aspirin

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Aspirin: A Bitter Pill

3-Year Streaming Price: $129.95



Aspirin, as we know it today, was launched a little more than a hundred years ago, but the compound in aspirin dates back to antiquity. This film investigates the history of the most used drug in the world. Bayer Laboratories in Elbefeld, Germany, was the first to mass-market this new drug in 1899. The first drug to be sold in tablet form, it is also the best selling drug in history. Because aspirin is used to treat everything from headaches to heart disease, some 100 billion people have taken this wonder drug. (60 minutes)

Length: 51 minutes

Item#: BVL55110

Copyright date: ©2000

Closed Captioned

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