Bayer AG

Empowering women by providing choices.

A History of Innovation in Birth Control

Few advances have given women greater power over their lives than the Pill.

When many people hear the name Bayer, they think of aspirin. And, in fact, Bayer’s introduction of aspirin in 1899 was a major innovation. What many people don’t realize is that Bayer AG (formerly Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals and Shering AG) is also the world’s leading maker of hormonal contraceptives for women.

What’s more, the company has a long history of innovation in birth control—stretching back almost to the introduction of the Pill itself in 1960.

Among Bayer AG innovations

  • Introduction of the first European birth control pill, a combined oral contraceptive named Anovlar, shortly after the world’s first version of the Pill was marketed in the United States
  • Introduction of the first progestin-only pill (mini-pill)
  • Introduction of the first low-estrogen–dose pill (micro-pill)
  • Introduction of the first pill to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a severe form of PMS, in women who choose the Pill for contraception
  • Introduction of the first pill to contain the estrogen estradiol valerate (EV), an estrogen that is immediately converted to estradiol in a woman’s body
  • Introduction of the first birth control pill approved for the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB), a medical condition also known as menorrhagia

Bayer AG's continuing commitment to women

In 2010, people all over the world celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Pill. And rightly so. Few technological advances have helped give women greater power over their lives and choices. In the years ahead—as the Pill turns 60, 70, and 80—Bayer AG is committed to developing more innovative products that fit women’s evolving needs throughout their reproductive years and beyond.