% | $
Quotes you view appear here for quick access.

The Dow Chemical Company Message Board

  • the_nervous_resistor the_nervous_resistor Aug 16, 2002 10:42 AM Flag

    Dow's past pharmaceutical adventures


    I am looking for information about Dow's past pharmaceutical adventures.

    Back in the 1980's, Dow had Marrion-Merrell-Dow, which was headquartered in Cincinnati. My recollection is that this venture started in the early 1980's or late 1970's and the exit occurred in the mid-1990's, say about 1994. Total time in the business was about 15-years. Is this picture accurate? The big product was Seldane, an antihistamine that did not make you drowsy. Then, problems with Seldane turned up. Is this about right?

    I have heard that Dow had an earlier venture into the pharmaceutical business that required exiting. Does anyone have information on this one? Perhaps it was back in the late 1960's or early 1970's. Any information on start and end dates, who the personalities were, the products, etc. would be appreciated.

    The reason that I am interested is that a recovering economy over the next 5-7 years will put cash in Dow's pockets from its commodities businesses. It seems that the management will not be able to resist the urge to re-enter the pharmaceutical business again.



    SortNewest  |  Oldest  |  Most Replied Expand all replies
    • Hi nervous. Regarding a 1960s pharmaceutical venture, The Dow Story on page 254 tells of a 1960 take over of Allied Laboratories, one of the countries largest manufacturers of and distributors of human health products. This merger gave Dow control of another pharmaceutical company called Pitman-Moore laboratories.

      Allied brought to Dow more than 600 products, including long lists of ethical (??) drugs. P-M had been one of the major manufacturers of the Salk Polio vaccine. Shortly before the merger, P-M had introduced a 4 in 1 vaccine, Compligen, providing one shot protection against tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough and polio.

      Would this direction be what you have been looking for?

      Good hunting. This is like a previous name hunt we had on this board some time ago. I won that one by a hair (er lack of).


    • Hi nervous. In browsing this board, I noted your request for information on Dow when they were hooked up with Marion-Merrel & producing seldane. Just for curiosity, I did a Google search using the phrase 'Seldane by Dow' (without the '' marks). I found 265 hits that gave all kinds of information on the Dow/Marion.Merrel involvement with this pharmaceutical. Some of the info went all the way back to the founder.

      Does any of this info help you?


    • Check out Dow Contract Manufacturing Services on the website


    • FOFWW,

      Sound like you have a new concept for plastic fillers. Wonder what the properties would be? And, I wonder if you cut short the cremation process just a tad, could the residual goo work as a compatibilizer to help bond the ash with the polymer? Any product name ideas out there?


    • Putting the body of the founder in the lobby is extreme, but not completely whacko. I heard on NPR that the inventor of the modern Frisbee had died. His family planned to take his ashes and mold them into a bunch of memorial Frisbees. If you get a Frisbee with black specks in it, it could be a token of the dear departed. Then again, it could be that they just used a crappy lot of plastic to make the Frisbee.


    • As I know it, Dow bought Merrill in the early 80's to form Merrill Dow. Merrill produced Bendectine(spelling may be wrong)among other drugs. This was the drug to help women who are extremely nauseated while pregnant. Studies have always shown that this drug does not cause birth defects. Actually some studies showed slightly lower birth defects but it was likely due to randomness in the studies. However, when you stack a jury with the right people and a family with the misfortune of having a baby with a birth defect takes a big, bad company to trial, the result is obvious.

      Dow bought Marion Phamaceuticals around 1988. It was headquarted in Kansas City. The founder, Marion Kaufman was loved by his employees because many employees became millionares. He was actually buried in the lobby of the headquarters if you can believe that. The Merrill people and the Marion people never really warmed up to each other.

      In the early 90's Dow put out an annual report with a nice pie chart broken into 3 equal pieces. It showed Dow's vision of being one-third chemical, one-third drug, and one-third consumer products. In literally one year Dow sold almost all of its drug and consumer product businesses....go figure. One positive from this is that Dow probably learned its leason and isn't interested in reinventing itself any time soon.

    • First of all, I wouldn't expect any large purchases of any kind from Dow for the next few years. They were on a spending spree leading up to the UCC merger and I suspect that is where it will stay for a while.

      In fact, the recent spending spree was related to the whole pharmaceuticals experiement. In the 80's and even early 90's, Dow was interested in "diversification" in their attempt to lose the moniker of "cyclical". It was, in large, a disaster. Dow is a heck of a chemical company. They aren't much of a pharmaceutical company. When the great experiment ended, that was also Dow's conclusion. All acquisitions and mergers since then have been in the chemical arena ONLY. (Don't quibble over the differences between agricultural chemicals and specialty chemicals. It's all chemicals.) In other words, if Dow isn't already a big player in a business, don't expect them to enter it anytime soon. Also, don't look for them to acquire engineering companies or maintenance companies either. The mentality today is "We are Dow. We do chemicals." If they need something else done, they will hire someone who does it well. They will not acquire them.

      Yes, never say never. The next generation may forget past mistakes and try again, but for the immediate future, Dow's chances of re-entering the pharmaceutical business is slim to none (and Slim just left town).


      • 1 Reply to gmaclucas
      • Gmac,

        I understand and appreciate the current outlook by Dow. My interest is on a longer time frame, when a new management team comes on board. Too much cash on hand. They will be in a limited growth business (chemicals). They will want to differentiate themselves from the previous Dow management. (Who knows, they may want to go back into the defense business by then, given the world turmoil ahead - a real throwback to Rocky Flats, Colorado and those Pu hockey pucks.)

        Do you have any date information on the MMD adventure? Is late 1970's to 1994-5 about right? And, do any of the older hands know about the earlier, pre-MMD pharma adventure? If a 10 years OFF and a 15 years ON pattern is the history, then 2005-2007 is the start of the next ON period for Dow pharma.



47.08-0.71(-1.49%)Oct 9 4:00 PMEDT