Bayer: Influence / Lobbying

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Influence / Lobbying

Lobby Groups

Since Bayer has tentacles in the pharmaceutical, biotech, chemical, and polymer sectors, the company participates in an innumerable amount of lobby groups in order to safeguard its interests in all these fields. Bayer's economic and political clout enables the company to penetrate all major regulatory, standard-setting, legislative, multilateral and/or governmental institutions. In addition, the company has strong historical links with the German government (see also crime section) and can count on the support of other governments, in particular the US government (see also section on links with governments).

Even if one forgets about the high level of secrecy and commercial confidentiality (seriously restricting people's ability to gain a full insight into Bayer's or any other major multinational corporation's political practices), it is impossible to give a complete overview of all groups, deals and schemes Bayer is involved in.

Following the listing of some issues of major importance for Bayer, an (by no means complete) overview of the most important lobby groups of which Bayer is part, and of the major (mainly regulatory) bodies that are being targeted by Bayer (individually or through lobby groups) will be presented. Be aware that major corporations are often part of the institutions they target, not so much formally but informally (e.g. through participation in advisory groups, links with high-positioned bureaucrats and politicians, by drafting proposals and setting agendas, etc.).

Important issues for Bayer: Health care reforms in the US; progression of biotechnology and mapping of the human genome; expansion of markets for genetically modified organisms (GMO's); completion of the EU Single Market; introduction of the Euro; progression of so-called free trade and the WTO agenda; liberalisation of markets; patenting of medicines (securing the big drug profits); implementation and strengthening of the TRIPs agreement (patent legislation); lowering of chemical threshold values (e.g. the allowable chemical threshold values at working places); downgrading of environmental and consumer protections (or preventing the creation of new, strict so-called social regulation); minimising liability (for their committed crimes, see crime section).

Bayer's lobby activities on the global level

'The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is the world's single largest corporate lobby group. The Paris-based ICC was founded in 1919 and has thousands of member companies in over 130 countries. Although the organisation calls itself the 'World Business Organisation', it is clearly dominated by large transnational corporations who use the influence of the ICC to promote an international political and economic climate that is favourable to their interests.' [1]

On the ICC and the Global Compact (see below) research and campaign group Corporate Europe Observatory says: 'The ICC has a long history of vigorously lobbying to weaken international environmental treaties and these efforts have continued even after the group has pledged support for the Global Compact principles. Examples include the Kyoto Protocol, the Convention on Biodiversity, and the Basel Convention against trade in toxic waste. In all of these UN negotiations, the International Chamber's obstructive lobbying is in direct opposition to the Global Compact principles it has pledged to pursue.' [2]

Established in 1995, the TABD is undoubtedly the most far reaching international corporate-state alliance. With a mandate from the US government and the European Commission, the 150 large corporations that make up the TABD work meticulously to identify "barriers to transatlantic trade." In effect, this means any regulation or policy proposal that does not fit the corporate agenda on either side of the Atlantic. [3] The TABD fully supports the rules and principles of the World Trade Organisation.

Berlin hosted the TABD 1999 annual meeting. The meeting was attended by the chief executives of 100 companies and by WTO's general director Mike Moore. Werner Spinner, board member of Bayer was led meeting.

For more information on the TABD, visit Corporate Europe Observatory at:

'In response to lobbying by business leaders, the Transatlantic Economic Partnership was established with the aim of closer EU-US co-ordination on trade issues, to improve the business environment and increase trade and investment on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as co-ordinating policy with regards to multilateral fora such as the WTO. However, the areas of co-operation mainly reflect the interests of EU and US transnational corporations where 'free trade' and access to markets for trade are viewed as more important that sustainable development.' [4]

The World Economic Forum (WEF) brings together 1,000 of the world's top multinational companies in an annual meeting at the luxury ski resort of Davos, Switzerland. In 2002 the Forum will moved to New York, because the costs of safeguarding security up in the Swiss mountains had grown too high. The WEF gives companies a chance to meet with many of the world's political and media leaders and Director-Generals of organisations such as the World Trade Organisation, the World Bank and the OECD. WEF homepage:

The Bilderberg Group does not publicise its activities and little is known about its influence, although it is considered by many to be one of the most powerful groupings of industry and politics. Its members appear to be individuals rather than organisations, though presumably organisations are represented. It meets at least once a year. [5]

'The Global Compact – a pact between the United Nations (more specifically, the UNEP) and multinational corporations - consists of a list of very general principles for corporate social, environmental and human rights behaviour. From the day of its launch, at the 1999 World Economic Forum, the Global Compact has been criticised by many citizen organisations and movements. Its first year of existence shows that the critics were right: corporations have been given a free ride. They have been able to use the Global Compact - the UN's seal of approval - to improve their public image, without any tangible changes in their overall corporate social, environmental or human rights behaviour.' [6]

CorpWatch USA lists both Bayer and Aventis (recently acquired by Bayer and 'one of the companies behind the $50 million per year PR campaign to gain acceptance for transgenic foods') as companies that are part of the Global Compact while having appalling human rights and environmental records. [7] Consumer and agricultural watchdog groups accused (14 June 2001) Aventis of failing to uphold a UN code of business conduct to which it had agreed. The StarLink fiasco was at the centre of the accusation.

'The company's genetically modified StarLink corn, which had been approved only for animal use but turned up (in 2000) in human foods, including taco shells. This company is in clear violation." said Gabrielle Flora of the Minnesota-based Institute for Agriculture and Food Policy (IAFP), arguing the company failed to abide by the UN's environmental standards. "This erodes the credibility of the United Nations." But UN officials said the Global Compact is a "learning forum" aimed at helping companies better their business practices - not a rigid set of guidelines.' [8]

Codex Alimentarius, which means "food code" in Latin, is the name of a United Nations commission that operates as part of the World Health Organization. The Codex Alimentarius Commission's mandate is to set international standards for trade in all kinds of food products. Its concerns include raw- and processed-food standards, pesticide and other contaminant levels, nutritional content, and labelling. Codex also is concerned with global trade rules for health supplements.

'The Codex Commission meets in Rome or Geneva every two years, with smaller get-togethers in various locales all over the world at other times. While it is concerned with protecting the health of consumers, it's also a trade group, and of the international organisations that send delegates to Codex, more than 90 percent represent large multinational corporations.' [9]

Proposals to turn as many nutrients as possible into prescription drugs were originally put forward by the German delegation to the commission, a panel sponsored by three giant drug companies - Hoechst, Bayer, and BASF. In this way many supplements may cease to be reasonably priced over-the-counter-items. [10] In other words, the pharmaceutical industry attempts to increase prices of food supplements including safe natural health products, and monopolises the market. In this way the industry undermines people's freedom of choice by restricting their access to food supplements, all through a process of secretive negotiation between the industry, their allies in government and Codex.

Like the Codex Alimentarius (see above) the WTO is obviously not a lobby group, but a multilateral institute whose trade rules (binding for nearly all nation states) are of vital importance for multinational corporations. WTO trade rules aim to foster so-called free trade and include regulations related to intellectual property rights (the TRIPs agreement). Basically, the TRIPs agreement was drafted by the pharmaceutical industry, and as a consequence the agreement strongly supports and safeguards the industry's interests, at high social costs. You can read about this in the pharmaceutical sector overview. Other so-called innovative industries, such as the biotech and chemical industry, also benefit from the TRIPs agreement and lobby for its full implementation.

The ICCA is an organisation of leading trade organisations representing almost 80% of chemical manufacturing worldwide (see below). ICCA's priorities for the recently launched new trade round include elimination of chemical tariffs by 2010; clarification of the relationship between trade and environment; harmonisation of anti-dumping practices; and full implementation of the TRIPs agreement. [11]

IFPMA represents the research-based pharmaceutical industry and other manufacturers of prescription medicines, worldwide.

IFPMA homepage:

'The International Council of Chemical Associations is a council of leading trade associations representing chemical manufacturers worldwide. The ICCA provides a forum for regular meetings of executives from the member associations to discuss policy issues of international interest to the chemical industry. In addition, the ICCA may make policy statements or develop programs where consensus is reached among the council's member associations. The purpose of the ICCA is to exchange views among members, to co-ordinate action by council members, and to present an international chemical industry view to organisations. Such organisations would primarily be inter-governmental agencies (e.g. GATT/WTO, IMO, UNEP, OECD and international private organisations (e.g. the International Standards Organization, ISO).' [12]

'Policy issues of international significance to the chemical manufacturing industry form the agenda of the ICCA. Such issues include health, safety, and the environment; international transport safety; intellectual property; trade policy; and, industry efforts to eliminate chemical weapons and diversion to illegal drugs. ICCA promotes and co-ordinates Responsible Care and other voluntary chemical industry initiatives.' [13]

Responsible Care aims to portray the chemical sector as applying uniformly high occupational health and safety and environmental standards wherever the industry operates. It has been the industry's main response to critics of its social and environmental record. Responsible Care programmes have been introduced in many parts of the world sometimes backed by lavish advertising campaigns. However, the programmes have often lacked public credibility. [14]

The IMO was set up in 1949 under auspices of the United Nations. The UN body deals with various safety issues related to shipping, including pollution. The adoption of maritime legislation is the IMO's most important concern. Around 40 conventions and protocols have been adopted by the Organisation. The IMO helps governments put the legislation into effect.[15]

The IMO adopted the International Convention on the control of harmful anti-fouling systems on ships on 5 October 2001. This convention prohibits the use of harmful organotins in anti-fouling paints used on ships and establishes a mechanism to prevent the potential future use of other harmful substances in anti-fouling systems. It will probably take at least a year until the new convention can be brought into force.

Anti-fouling paints are used to coat the bottoms of ships to prevent sea life such as algae and molluscs attaching themselves to the hull – thereby slowing down the ship and increasing fuel consumption. [16] Anti-fouling paints contain organotins. Their detrimental effects on the environment were first noticed in oyster farms on the Atlantic coast of France in the late 1970s. Since then, increased levels of organotins have been found world-wide in marine organisms further up the food chain, such as fish, seabirds and marine mammals. These chemicals have been shown to have hormone-disrupting properties in some species, and humans could also face health risks if they consume contaminated fish. [17] Tributyltin (TBT) is an organotic, and is the most toxic chemical ever deliberately released into the seas.

The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies from some 140 countries, one from each country. ISO is a non-governmental organisation established in 1947. The mission of ISO is to promote the development of standardisation and related activities in the world with a view to facilitating the international exchange of goods and services, and to developing co-operation in the spheres of intellectual, scientific, technological and economic activity. [18] ISO is the source of ISO 9000 (= a family of standards which are referred to under this generic title for convenience) and more than 13 000 International Standards for business, government and society. [19]

The ILO is an UN body setting standards on, among other things, chemical safety at workplaces.

ILO homepage:

Multinationals such as Bayer work with UNEP because this co-operation provides them with valuable greenwash opportunities (see Global Compact above). Also, many environmental conventions setting (mainly voluntary) guidelines for industry are set up under auspices of the UNEP. Therefore it is of vital importance for multinationals to have a big finger in the UNEP pie. Generally, industry -in order to safeguard economic growth goals- tries to prevent Conventions such as those on Climate Change, Biodiversity, Ozone Depletion and Toxic Pollution from setting environmental standards which have any substance.

Just like the United Nations, the World Bank increasingly works with multinational corporations. The private sector is being considered as a vital part of solutions to global problems. Multinationals gladly take this opportunity to strengthen their image as 'caretakers of the world's poor', to set and influence the global agenda and policies (see next paragraph) and to safeguard their business in/trade with poor countries.

Pharmaceutical companies use aid programs to get rid of expired or banned medicines and/or to do medical experiments in developing countries (see pharmaceutical sector overview). The chemical industry increasingly re-locates chemical production plants to developing countries where environmental and labour regulations are lax and bribing opportunities are affluent. Also, the chemical industry is notorious for dumping toxic chemicals - expired or banned in the west - in developing countries through developing aid.

Greenpeace recently (October 2001) cleared a contaminated site in Nepal. The deadly substances were found, including banned pesticides such as dieldrin, chlorinated organomercury compounds and DDT. They were manufactured and imported to Nepal by Western multinationals some 20 years ago. All the poisons were donated to Nepal or channelled through international aid mechanisms in order to open markets. An estimated 500,000 metric tonnes of obsolete pesticides have been abandoned worldwide, mainly in developing countries. They are usually stored in poor conditions, often in residential areas or even next to schools. [20]

Future of Agriculture

On December 5, 2000, the World Bank hosted a roundtable discussion on agricultural science and technology with 13 CEOs from major agribusiness companies (including Monsanto, BASF, DowAgroSciences, Syngenta, DuPont, Cargill, Aventis and Bayer). The goal of the meeting was to get private sector perspective on how to increase food security and agricultural productivity in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner.

The following issue was one of key points discussed: 'Agricultural science and research, not limited to, but including biotechnology, is a key component in addressing food security. Presently, much of the world's agricultural research, particularly in biotechnology, is done by the private sector. In order to successfully continue working in this area, private companies must provide shareholder returns. As a result, they are not likely to meet most of the developing countries' agricultural research needs.' [21] In other words, since poor people have no money, they have no voice, and their needs are being ignored by the private sector.

The G-7 Pesticide Industry's Stake in the World Bank

The World Bank's Policy on Pest Management. Since 1982, NGOs and consumer organisations have been putting pressure on the World Bank to improve its pest management activities and reduce pesticide use. In response, the Bank has released a series of policies on pest management, beginning in 1985, and in 1988 it convened a panel of experts to advise the Bank on pesticide issues. However, the World Bank's current pest management policy is very weak and heavily focused on industrial agriculture instead of organic, farmer-led agriculture.

Companies in G-7 countries clearly profit from the World Bank's agricultural lending, as do pesticide producers in other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations. The Bank claims that from January 1988 to January 1995, it financed US$250.75 million worth of pesticide purchases from around the world. The main beneficiaries in terms of sales were: Rhone Poulenc, BASF, Zeneca, Sumitomo, FMC Corp., Helm, Bayer, Roussel Uclaf, Cyanamid, Air Lloyd, and Hoechst.

This support for agrochemicals calls into question the Bank's commitment to environmentally sustainable development, which the Bank has institutionalised in part by its participation in the Global Environment Facility (GEF), a joint UN-World Bank project.

World Bank-approved contracts support many chemicals requiring the use of protective gear and separate storage facilities, yet the realities of life in developing countries mean that the poorest people don't have access to such protections. Furthermore, two of the Pesticide Action Network's "Dirty Dozen" pesticides appear in these contracts: paraquat and DDT.

Bayer's lobby activities in the United States

Bayer's largest business is in the United States. Health care reforms in the US are of vital importance for Bayer and the pharmaceutical industry in general. Last year (2000), the drug industry spent more money on lobbying in Washington than any other sector, which is not hard to explain. 'The drug industry has much to protect in Washington, mainly because the industry receives so many favours and privileges from the federal government. The government has conferred on the industry monopoly patents and patent extensions (which keep lower-priced generic drugs off the market), tax credits worth billions of dollars a year, and research subsidies for both the most medically important drugs and also the top-selling ones.' [22]

You can read in a Public Citizens report (published July 2001) how the pharmaceutical industry fought in 2000, like never before, against the looming threat that Congress and president Clinton would provide senior citizens with drug coverage under Medicare. Medicare is the country's largest health insurance program for people 65 and over. The report claims that the drug industry launched a unprecedented blitz of lobbying, campaign contributions, and so-called 'issue' ads to help its political allies and help its enemies (see also section on 'links with governments'). [23]

In general, the drugs industry works hard to fight off any proposals that might moderate its prices or profits. The fight is carried out by a large army of well-connected lobbyists in Washington DC. Bayer Corp. ranks number 23 in the category 'lobbying expenditures and number of lobbyists for drug companies and trade groups' in 2000.[24] That's quite high for a multinational with its home base outside the US. Obviously Bayer's lobbying efforts are not confined to drug issues. Bayer also puts its weight behind issues of relevance to its chemical, polymer and biotech interests. The company influences the policymaking processes in these fields, e.g. by targeting relevant regulatory and policymaking/governmental bodies.

A list of major US-based business lobby groups will be presented below.

The United States Council for International Business was founded in 1945 to promote an open system of world trade, investment, and finance. It has a membership of over 300 multinational companies, law firms, and business associations. It is the US affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) to the OECD and the International Organisation of Employers (UNICE).

USCIB homepage:

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the research-based pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in the US. Bayer Corporation Pharmaceutical Division is one of PhRMA's members.

PhRMA homepage:

BIO is the largest trade organisation serving and representing the emerging biotechnology industry in the US. Bayer Corporation is among BIO's members. Bayer's Wolf-Dieter Busse is member of the BIO Board of Directors 2001-2002.


The AMA dominates ideas within the US medical community and has, as critics claim, a bias against alternative medicine. If the AMA dislike a particular health care approach, they work to prohibit these practices in hospitals and suspend the medical licenses of any doctor who uses them. They have often been able to rely upon state licensing boards and legislatures, and even the US Congress, to pass laws outlawing natural healing methods. Many new health care discoveries have remained underground. Inexpensive, non-toxic and unpatentable natural healing methods have never been seriously or honestly evaluated by the AMA-FDA pharmaceutical-dominated medical establishment. [25]

AMA homepage:

The Chemical Manufacturers Association (or the American Chemistry Council) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. The business of chemistry is a $460 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation's economy. It is the nation's largest exporter, accounting for ten cents out of every dollar in US exports. The purpose of the Association shall be the promotion of the interests of the chemical manufacturing industry of the United States of America and Canada.' [26]

In 1996, the CMA was engaged in a major lawsuit against the EPA, seeking to block the regulators' plan to increase the number of chemicals about which information must be reported to the public under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. [27]

After a strong year in 2000 the chemical industry felt the effects of both high oil prices and economic slowdown in 2001. CMA tries to hamper legislation that might worsen economic prospects even further. However, CMA foresees some positive prospects as well. It says military spending will provide a boost in engineering plastics, electronic chemicals and - unsurprisingly – explosives (Financial Times, 17 December 2001). [28] Bayer Corp. is a member of CMA.

CMA homepage:

'Through the ACGIH, the Committee recommending threshold values for workplace exposure to chemicals, Bayer and other big chemical companies exert their influence on legislation. ACGIH passes resolutions on this issue and rates 30 substances per meeting and usually has to rely on individual expert opinions. But often these reports are written by toxicologists who are on the payroll of the big industry.

That is why, for example, 40 products of Dow Chemicals were rated only by Dow- toxicologists and were classified "safe". Similar cases concerning Bayer, Exxon and DuPont have been heard of. In addition, the Committee members are influenced directly: They do not have to disclose their sources of income and thus the combines often provide Committee members with generous consultative contracts. The few independent experts complain that information is kept from them and that thorough examination is impossible because the Commission is understaffed.' [29]

CBM (the name is rather deceptive, as it insinuates that it is a genuine public interest group) was established as the lobbying and grass roots organising arm of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA). Citizens for Better Medicare was set up under Section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code, which governs political activity by non-profit organisations. It does not have to report its income or divulge its spending, so long as it sticks to issue advocacy and does not advocate the election or defeat of candidates.

Such groups can accept money from any source, including foreign corporations and individuals. The majority of the group's money indeed comes from drug makers. Several of the biggest members of the pharmaceutical association are the United States subsidiaries of European pharmaceutical concerns, including Bayer AG, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc., Glaxo Wellcome Plc., Hoechst Marion Roussel AG and Rhone-Poulenc Rorer Inc. [30]

'During the last election cycle, CBM launched one of the most expensive political advertising campaigns in American history. In 1999 and 2000 CBM spent an estimated $65 million on so-called 'issue' ads. Some of these thinly disguised issue ads supported Republican candidates and attacked Democratic candidates. What few of the Americans who saw the ads realised was that the group was created by the industry and staffed with industry veterans. To grasp how prominent CBM was in the 2000 election, consider that in the eight months leading up to election day, CBM ran 27% of all issue ads broadcast in the country by non-party groups – by far the most of any independent non-party group.' [31]

The Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA) is the national trade association that advances the use of polyisocyanurate (polyiso) insulation. Polyiso is one of the nation's most widely used and cost-effective insulation products. PIMA's membership consists of manufacturers of polyiso insulation and of suppliers to the industry.[32] Bayer is a PIMA member.

Bayer's lobby activities in Europe

Apart from being a member of the major influential business lobby groups working for a business-friendly Europe such as the European Roundtable of Industrialists (ERT), UNICE ('The Voice of Business in Europe') and the Transatlantic Business Dialogue (TABD), Bayer is part of innumerable lobby groups focussing on its needs in specific fields of interests. A selection of a few major ones will be listed below.


EuropaBio, the European Association for Bioindustries, represents over 40 member companies operating worldwide and 13 national biotechnology associations. [33] EuropaBio aims to be a promoting force for biotechnology.

The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) is the representative voice of the pharmaceutical industry in Europe. Through its membership (national pharmaceutical industry associations and major companies), EFPIA represents the common views and interests of over 3,350 pharmaceutical companies undertaking research, development and manufacturing of medicinal products for human use in Europe. Bayer Director Dr. Morich is a member of the Board of the EFPIA.

EFPIA homepage:

ACTIP was established in November 1990 and aims to develop a common industrial view with regard to animal cell culture research and advises the European Commission on this issue. It also, among other things, informs the public of the positive contributions biotechnology makes through animal cell culture. [34] Animal cell technology is applied for the production of biopharmaceuticals, monoclonal antibodies, vaccines, gene therapy vectors and for safety testing. Members of ACTIP are European companies (including Bayer) with activities in animal cell technology.

ACTIP homepage:

ELSF was established in 1999 as a joint initiative by various organisations active in the field of life sciences, including the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO), the European Life Science Organisation (ELSO), the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), the Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS). ELSF claims to be 'a voice for European life science organisations' and aims to ensure that there is a relevant input from the scientific community in the planning of Europe's future with regard to life sciences. [35] Although Bayer is not formally part of the Forum, it exerts influence through its many connections with research bodies.

ELSF website:


The EU chemical industry is one of EU's most international and competitive industries embracing a wide field of processing and manufacturing activities. The EU chemical industry accounts for 29% of estimated world production (valued at €1370 billion in 1999). Around 1.7 million people are employed in the 34,000 EU chemicals firms. [36] Germany is the largest chemicals producer in Europe, followed by France, the UK and Italy. [37] Bayer ranks number 5 among the world's biggest chemical companies, following BASF, DuPont, DowChemical and Exxon-Mobil. [38]

The European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) reported disappointing results for 2000, but expects the chemical output growth of the EU chemical industry to recover in 2001. Industrial segments were more seriously affected than consumer related markets and pharmaceuticals, which continued to spearhead growth. [39]

According to CEFIC's latest forecast (29 November 2001) the longer term prospects of the industry remain positive. CEO of AtoFina and Chairman of the CEFIC International Trade and Competitiveness Programme Council Francois Cornelis said: "Over time the new WTO trade round, the eastward enlargement of the EU, the introduction of the Euro and the continued liberalisation of the EU gas and electricity markets should provide a solid basis to our industry, enabling it to continue playing a leading role in the world as a provider of key technology products." [40]

On the contrary, restrictive legislation can hamper the chemical industry. The EU Parliament recently (November 2001) called for more sophisticated and widespread chemical tests to assess their health and environmental impact. Unsurprisingly, Europe's chemicals industry, particularly in Germany, strongly opposes any move towards wider testing.

There are currently over 100,000 registered chemicals, 30,000 of which have an annual production of more than one tonne and are often found in products in everyday use. But of these, only 140 have been put on a priority list for testing and possible risk reduction measures in the EU. World production of chemicals has shot up to 400 million tonnes from near one million in 1930, the published Parliament report said, but it has not been followed by adequate screening for toxicity. Bertil Herrink, director of EU government affairs for CEFIC, emphasised there is no need for extra precautions and stressed his concern about the lack of workability of new, restrictive regulation. [41]

'The European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) is a major player in the EU's decision-making process, and its toxic influence is increasingly perceptible in the international arena as well. CEFIC's dual strategy involves blocking government intervention while at the same time promoting questionable self-regulation initiatives for the chemical industry.'[42]

'The Brussels-based CEFIC, founded in 1972, is a complex cocktail of national federations, individual companies, issue-based lobby organisations and 'senior advisory groups' of chemical industries which together represent 30% of global chemical production. Eleven members of the European Roundtable of Industrialists (ERT) also lobby with CEFIC, among them chemical giants Bayer, ICI and Rhône-Poulenc. Represented on CEFIC's board are biotech lobby group EuropaBio, APPE (Association of Petrochemical Producers in Europe) and ECPA (European Crop Protection Association). CEFIC also includes two influential senior advisory groups: SAGEP which deals with trade and economic issues, and SAGE which focuses on environment.' [43]

Bayer Director Dr. Molnar is a member of CEFIC.

Read more about the CEFIC in Corporate Europe Observatory's newsletter. Although it is a bit out-of-date it provides a valuable insight into this Toxic Lobby:

The formation of a new group called the European Chemical Employers Group, ECEG, to promote open dialogue between the chemical unions and the chemical industry was announced today at the 2nd "European Social Partner Conference of the Chemical Industry" in Berlin (December 2001).

The Group has been formed as a part of CEFIC to enable National Federations of the chemical industry and Chemical Employer's Associations to meet and talk in a structured way at the European level with social partners. [44]

Influencing Research and Education

This section presents a few examples of Bayer's interference with research and education. Obviously Bayer aims to contribute to the creation of a knowledge framework and workforce beneficial and suited to its own corporate, profit-driven needs. The company hereby seriously endangers the (ideally) independent nature of research and education necessary to create knowledge that will benefit individual people (in the unfolding of their potentials) and human society as a whole. The examples below are categorised, but the lines between categories blur.

Bayer's Research & Education Projects

  • Bayer: Making Science Make Sense (MSMS)

"As a science and research-based company with major businesses in health care and life sciences and chemicals, Bayer Corporation has a solid stake in helping to ensure that today's students are well prepared for tomorrow's workplace. Educating the public about the importance of science literacy, supporting science programs for students and teachers, and encouraging employee volunteerism are at the heart of Bayer's integrated approach." Bayer Corp. about Making Science Make Sense [45]

'Bayer's Making Science Make Sense initiative advances science literacy across the United States through hands-on, inquiry-based science learning, employee volunteerism and public education.'[46] Further details:

  • Bayer Institute for Health Care Communication

The mission of the Bayer Institute for Health Care Communication is 'to enhance the quality of health care by improving the communication between clinician and patient through three major activities: education, research, and advocacy.

The Institute works with health care organisations to conduct research and provides educational opportunities for clinicians so they can develop the communication skills they need to be effective.

The Institute's first efforts began in 1987. Since that time more than 3,500 workshops have been conducted for more than 40,000 clinicians and health care workers. Grants have been made to investigators to develop new knowledge about clinician-patient communication.[47] Institute's homepage:

  • Bayer's Patient Education Center

Through its Patient Education Center Bayer Diagnostics claims to be 'committed to engaging our customers in a lifetime relationship for optimal health.'

Bayer exclusively sponsors two continuing education meetings for veterinarians each year. Read about it at:

Partnerships In Higher Education

The Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences offers a five year BS/MS and graduate degrees in their Environmental Science and Management Program. The Bayer School is part of the Duquesne University: Center for Environmental Education & Research, Pittsburgh.[48]

BBEI is a two-part education-to-employment program for Berkeley students housed at the Biotech Academy at Berkeley High School and Laney College's Biotech Career Institute. The program was designed as part of the development plan between Bayer and the City of Berkeley.

To initiate the program, Bayer scientists and technicians worked with teachers at Berkeley High School and Peralta Community College District to develop a curriculum that would emphasise hands-on learning and train students in the skills necessary for employment in the biotech industry. Read more:

Interfering With School Curricula

  • Operation Clean Hands

People do not wash their hands as often or as well as they think they do, risking poor health and the spread of infection. That's the finding of a recent survey of people's hand washing habits conducted in public toilets across the United States by the American Society of Microbiology (ASM) and Bayer Corporation's Pharmaceutical Division. In response to those findings, Bayer and ASM recently launched Operation Clean Hands, a campaign to educate Americans about health risks associated with poor hand washing habits. Operation Clean Hands is working its way into schools and into the school curriculum too. Read more:

  • Bayer $25,000 grant expands science education

Bayer Corp. has given Johnston County Schools a check for $25,000 to expand the Making Science Make Sense program (see above) from four to nine schools. Within five years, the program will be instituted in all 23 county elementary and middle schools

Public relations and marketing manager for Bayer McKernan said: "We choose this initiative because Bayer is a science-minded company, and we want to make sure through the school system that we are promoting science literacy. If they get into science when they're young, they'll stay in it."

Poland (a teacher) said it is very difficult to provide hands-on science education without the Bayer grant because there are few resources available for materials.[49]

  • Washington Lands Elementary School's Partners in Education

Bayer Corporation, American Electric Power (AEP), Rax Restaurant, Domino's Pizza, and the Moundsville Kroger are "Partners in Education" with Washington Lands Elementary School. The Environmental Testing Services Laboratory at Bayer Corporation developed their web site [50] as part of this program.


  • Bayer/NSF Award

'Encouraging kids to take a fresh look at science and the world around them is what the Bayer/NSF Award for Community Innovation is all about. Partnering with the National Science Foundation and other key organisations, Bayer asks teams of middle school kids to identify a problem or opportunity in their community and use the scientific process to solve it.'[51]

  • Bayer Rubber Corporation Award for High School Chemistry Teachers

Major pharmaceutical companies sponsor the awards. Bayer sponsored an award designed to support innovative educational research.

Teaching Free Trade & Biotech Blessings

STEP aims to convince the general farm populace, as well as the general public, about the importance of and need for trade expansion/trade liberalisation for US soybeans.

'Through a series of informative articles, strides will be made in heightening awareness to these issues… ASA and Bayer will jointly determine target publications. Bayer Corporation will be formally recognised in all articles.'[52]

  • Co-operation with the US government:

'Funding from United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is a key component of ASA's export promotion activities.' To ensure the continued success of US soybean export promotion activities, ASA lobbies Congress to approve certain legislation beneficial to the industry.

To motivate grassroots support for this type of legislation, producer education efforts about the opportunities for increased exports of US soybeans and soy products had to be heightened through various means. Bayer Corporation was recognised for its STEP support through all elements.[53]

Bayer and Public Relations (PR) Companies

'The public relations (PR) business is one of the fastest growing industries in the global market economy. In order to face perils like labour unions, organised consumer activists and environmental groups, governments and corporations have come to rely more on slick PR campaigns. The peril to popular democracy posed by PR firms should not be underestimated. Using the latest communications technologies and polling techniques, as well as an array of high-level political connections, PR flacks routinely "manage" issues for government and corporate clients and "package" them for public consumption. The result is a "democracy" in which citizens are turned into passive receptacles of "disinfotainment" and "advertorials" and in which critics of the status quo are defined as ignorant meddlers and/or dangerous outsiders.'[54]

Burson-Marsteller, Edelman PR Worldwide, Shandwick International, Hill & Knowlton (UK), Weber PR Worldwide, Bell Pottinger Communications, Manning Selvage & Lee, Golin/Harris, Fleishman-Hillard and Porter Novelli are among the world's biggest PR companies.[55]

PR Companies used by Bayer

Edelman PR Worldwide homepage:

Edelman PR Worldwide profiles:

Their clients include AT&T, American Home Products, Bayer, Deutsche Bank, Eli Lilly & Co., Ericcson, General Motors, Hewlett Packard, Hoechst Marion Roussel Inc., Hoffmann-La Roche, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Microsoft Corp., Morgan Stanley, Nike, Inc., Nissan Motor Corp., Pfizer, Pharmacia & Upjohn, Procter & Gamble, Smithkline Beecham, Starbucks, Starmedia Network, Time Warner Inc., Unilever, Visa, and Warner Lambert.[56]

Founded in 1957, Golin/Harris International claims to be one of the world's leading public relations firms with offices in North America, Europe and Asia. As part of the Interpublic Group of Companies, the company's reach extends to more than 4,000 multinational, regional and local clients in 110 countries around the world. Golin/Harris is proud of the close relationships it has established with clients like Bayer, DaimlerChrysler, Gerber, McDonald's, Nintendo, Owens Corning and Texas Instruments, and claim to be 'their strategic partners in creating programs to increase awareness and trust in their reputations'.[57]

Golin/Harris homepage:

Manning, Selvage & Lee homepage:

'From AOL-Time Warner to Seagram-Vivendi to Pharmacia & Upjohn-Monsanto, Kekst & Company continues to be a leading player in the mergers and acquisitions business. However, the greatest strength of the firm continues to reside in its ability to counsel management through "special situations" including restructurings, bankruptcies, management transitions, earnings disappointments, labor disputes and litigation'.[58]

Kekst & Co's major clients—who work with Kekst for ongoing investor relations and corporate positioning—include some of the biggest names in American business: Coca-Cola, General Motors, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Goldman Sachs, and Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts. As a matter of policy, Kekst does not publish a client list.[59]

Crisis management specialist Kekst & Company is working with German pharmaceutical giant Bayer on issues arising from the focus on its anti-anthrax drug Cipro. Bayer's role as the sole supplier of Cipro that has turned the full glare of media attention on the company, which previously had maintained a low profile in the US. "We've worked with Kekst for a number of years on different issues," Mark Ryan, senior VP of corporate communications for Bayer, told O'Dwyers PR Daily (PR News). The firm has "been excellent with strategic advice and is a terrific collaborator."[60]

Kekst has also worked with Bayer on other issues, including the company's negotiations with Holocaust survivors and their families, who claimed it was one of many German companies to exploit workers during the Nazi era, and more recently on its voluntary withdrawal of the cholesterol-lowering drug Baycol, which has been linked to more than 30 deaths.[61]

Kekst & Co. homepage:

Kekst & Co profile:

'Fleishman-Hillard leapfrogged Burson-Marsteller, Hill & Knowlton, Weber Shandwick and Porter Novelli last year to become the world's highest-grossing PR company with a worldwide income of £240m. The company is owned by the US marketing and advertising giant, Omnicom, and clients including Yahoo!, Reebok, Bayer and ExxonMobil.'[62]

Fleishman-Hillard employees working for Bayer:

Rissig Licha (email: joined Fleishman-Hillard after having held a high position at Burson-Marsteller for many years. He has earned a reputation as a leading authority on public relations in the emerging markets of Latin America. Within the region he has led the communications teams for such textbook projects as the Bayer aspirin/Reyes Syndrome crisis, the introduction of American Airlines in 20 markets, the DuPont Hotel fire in Puerto Rico, etc. Other clients Rissig has worked for include Coca-Cola, Philip Morris, Imperial Chemical Industries, DuPont, Enron, Texaco, Wal-Mart, and the governments of Puerto Rico, El Salvador, and Guatemala.[63]

Paul Blackburn joined Fleishman-Hillard UK in April 2000. A graduate in economics, Paul Blackburn gained a solid grounding in marketing in the pharmaceutical industry at both Merck and Abbott Laboratories during the first five and a half years of his career. Before joining Ketchum, he spent four years at the international communications agency Edelman (both major PR companies). Much of Blackburn's work has involved international brand marketing and corporate issues for clients such as Astra Zeneca, Alcon, Bayer, Johnson & Johnson, Nestlé, Novartis, Pfizer, Pharmacia & Upjohn, Procter & Gamble, Roche, SmithKline Beecham, Unilever, and Warner Lambert.[64]

Fleishman-Hillard homepage:

'During the recent reign of England's Conservative Party, Peter Gummer's (Shandwick's founder) brother John served as a government minister. Peter Gummer himself was knighted in 1996 and is now known as Lord Chadlington. He is pragmatic, however, about his conservatism, as Shandwick counts Tony Blair's Labour Party among its clients.'[65]

Some of Shandwick's current or recent clients include:

US: Aerospatiale, Bayer, Ciba-Geigy, Coca-Cola, Compaq, Dun & Bradstreet, Ford Motor Company, General Electric, General Motors, General Mills, Global Climate Information Project, IBM, Kraft, Lever Brothers, Mastercard International, Michelin, Monsanto, Microsoft, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, and Shell. Europe: Anglian Water Corporation of London, ICI Paints, Mercedes-Benz, Nestle, P&O Cruises, Reckitt & Coleman, Shell International, Tesco, Unilever.[66]

The world's biggest PR company, which has a frightening influence on politics, specialises in what it calls 'perception management'. B-M has in the last couple of years been responsible for developing the PR strategy of the European biotech industry, aimed at allaying public fears about biotechnology and at manipulating political sympathies in Brussels. B-M works for industry lobby group EuropaBio.[67]

EuropaBio is made up of some 600 companies, ranging from the largest bioindustry companies in Europe (including the European offices of US companies such as Monsanto) to national biotech federations representing small and medium-sized enterprises. Member companies include all of the major European multinationals interested in biotechnology, such as Bayer, the Danône Group, Novartis, Monsanto Europe, Nestlé, Novo Nordisk, Rhône-Poulenc, Solvay and Unilever.

A leaked Burson-Marsteller plan to sell biotech to consumers (dated 1997) can be found at:

The Guardian (15 June 2001) reported that Burson-Marsteller, which has done the corporate PR for Monsanto and Shell in Britain, was one of the main sponsors of Bio2001, the largest annual gathering of the world's biotech industry, held in San Diego on June 25. Bio2001 was organised by the Biotechnology Industry Organisation, which promotes GM foods. Other sponsors included the world's leading GM food manufacturers such Monsanto, Aventis, Dow AgroSciences, Astra Zeneca and also Merck and Bayer, two of the corporations who had recently tried to stop via the courts the South African government distributing cheap generic Aids drugs (The Guardian, Friday June 15, 2001).[68]

For years B-M has been involved in major environmental issues all over the world, not hesitating to give polluters a helping hand when confronted by activist groups and/or government regulations. Many transnational corporations have turned to B-M for help in the creation of a pedantic, elitist and corporate-oriented brand of environmentalism. One of B-M's most powerful and an influential 'environmental' client is the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). The WBCSD's original task was to act behind the scenes at the 1992 Earth Summit to neutralise and silence any voices critical of the irresponsible behaviour of polluting corporations. Nowadays WBCSD is advocating free markets and unfettered corporate activity as the only salvation of the environment.[69]

The WBCSD is a coalition of 150 international companies (including Bayer) 'united by a shared commitment to sustainable development via the three pillars of economic growth, ecological balance and social progress'.[70] (See also section on lobby groups)

WBCSD homepage:

Burson-Marsteller homepage:

PR stories involving Bayer

  • Former Edelman PR senior VP joins Bayer

Ellena Friedman, who was senior VP in Edelman PR Worldwide's healthcare group, joined Bayer Corp., as communications director at the firm's West Haven, Conn., North American pharmaceutical headquarters in August 2001. Friedman, who also did a stint at Hill and Knowlton, is to enhance the image of Bayer, which has more than 2,100 employees at West Haven.[71]

  • Bayer needs help to cover up Baycol fiasco (11 September 2001)

Bayer AG said it expected to make a decision on PR counsel as the company faced a financial backlash from its decision to pull a popular cholesterol-reducing drug (Baycol) in August 2001. "We're considering our PR counsel but haven't made a definite decision yet," said Ellena Friedman, communications director for Bayer. So far, Bayer has used Edelman PR Worldwide, and Manning, Selvage & Lee.[72]

  • The Bayer identity campaign: The Bayer Voice

Bayer has been operating for decades in the United States, but it wasn't until 1995 that US operations were finally consolidated under the global Bayer brand. Until then, Bayer in the US had been operating under various subsidiary names. As the Bayer brand unfolded throughout Bayer US operations, it became clear that the Bayer name and Bayer Cross logo was synonymous with—and limited to—the Bayer Aspirin brand. Corporate communications in the US were emanating from many sources without a single direction, identity or vision. As a result, Bayer's face to the world was fragmented and unclear.

To address this problem, in 1997 Bayer US undertook a strategic, holistic branding and positioning renewal. After completing internal and external research, Bayer US composed a positioning statement that has faithfully guided its sweeping identity campaign. The centrepiece of the campaign—both for internal and external communications—is a concept called 'The Bayer Voice'.

The strategy for launching the Bayer Voice was two-pronged. It would be circulated externally in print and television advertising, but also adopted internally for corporate communications across all business units. The external print and television advertising was placed in media likely to be seen by senior level management, customers and investors. There were four television spots and a series of print ads that ran over a six-month period starting in 1999. Three new television spots were developed and run in 2000.

The Bayer Voice was launched internally with a corporate film and collateral materials designed to create excitement and immerse the organisation with the new branding. Following, the Bayer Voice was systematically and faithfully applied to all new employee communications. Finally, in order to assist communications managers across the organisation, the Bayer Voice was codified and disseminated through an electronic, interactive style guide that helps communications managers fully understand and produce quality branded materials.

From an external perspective, corporate awareness of Bayer as a result of the Bayer Voice campaign has been steadily gaining ground. Russell Marketing Research Inc. reported that awareness in the opinion leader category rose from 10% in August of 1999 to 24% by the end of the year 2000.[73]

  • Bayer's $1 million consumer education campaign

The Bayer Corporation launched a $1 million consumer education campaign to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it had made unsubstantiated claims in a series of aspirin ads, in violation of a previous FTC order. The Bayer ads claimed that a regular aspirin regimen is appropriate for the prevention of heart attacks and strokes in the general adult population. The FTC alleged that since some adults are less likely to benefit from a daily aspirin regime, and some may suffer adverse health effects from taking aspirin on a daily basis, the ad claims were unsubstantiated. The consumer education campaign features a brochure, "Aspirin Regimen Therapy - Is It Right For You?" that Bayer will distribute free.[74]


  1. ^ (source: Corporate Europe Observatory, date viewed: 20.12.01)
  2. ^ (source: Corporate Europe Observatory, date viewed: 20.12.01)
  3. ^ (source: Corporate Europe Observatory, date viewed: 20.12.01)
  4. ^ (source: Friends of the Earth International, date viewed: 18.12.01)
  5. ^ (source: The Spotlight, Washington DC, date viewed: 20.01.02)
  6. ^ (source: Corporate Europe Observatory, date viewed: 20.12.01)
  7. ^ (source: CorpWatch USA, date viewed: 15.01.02)
  8. ^ (source: CorpWatch USA, date viewed: 15.01.02)
  9. ^ (source: The Life Extension Foundation, date viewed: 25/11/01)
  10. ^ ibid.
  11. ^ (source: ICCA, date viewed: 18.12.01)
  12. ^ (source: CEFIC, date viewed: 18.12.01)
  13. ^ (source: CEFIC, date viewed: 18.12.01)
  14. ^ (source: ICEM, date viewed: 23.12.01)
  15. ^ (source: IMO, date viewed: 18.12.01)
  16. ^ (source: IMO, date viewed: 18.12.01)
  17. ^ (source: WWF, date viewed: 18.12.01)
  18. ^ (source: ISO, date viewed: 19.12.01)
  19. ^ (source: ISO, date viewed: 19.12.01)
  20. ^ (source: Greenpeace, date viewed: 19.12.01)
  21. ^ (source: Worldbank, date viewed: 23.12.01)
  22. ^ (source: Public Citizen, date viewed: 20.12.01)
  23. ^ (source: Public Citizen, date viewed: 20.12.01)
  24. ^ (source: Public Citizen, date viewed: 20.12.01)
  25. ^
  26. ^ (source: the American Chemistry Council, date viewed: )
  27. ^ (source: the Centre for Public Integrity, date viewed: 08.01.02)
  28. ^ 'Chemicals: The Year in Review', by David Firn, The Financial Times, 17 December 2001, (
  29. ^ (source: Co-ordination Against Bayer-Dangers, date viewed: 20.12.01)
  30. ^ (source: New York Times, date viewed: 20.01.02)
  31. ^ (source: Public Citizen, date viewed: 20.12.01)
  32. ^ (source: PIMA, date viewed: 08.01.02)
  33. ^ (source: EuropaBio, date viewed: 09.01.02)
  34. ^ (source: ACTIP, date viewed: 19.12.01)
  35. ^ (source: ELSF, date viewed: 23.12.01)
  36. ^, (source: Planet Ark, date viewed: 09.01.02)
  37. ^ (source: CEFIC, date viewed: 19.12.01)
  38. ^ (source: Chemical & Engineering News, date viewed: 20.01.02)
  39. ^ (source: CEFIC, date viewed: 19.12.01)
  40. ^ (source: CEFIC, date viewed: 19.12.01)
  41. ^ Reuters, 16 Nov. 2001. The news story can be read at: (, source: Planet Ark, date viewed: 09.01.02)
  42. ^, (source: CEO, date viewed: 23.12.01)
  43. ^ Ibid.
  44. ^ (source: CEFIC, date viewed: 09.01.02)
  45. ^ (source: Bayer, date viewed: 20.01.02)
  46. ^ (source: Bayer, date viewed: 20.01.02)
  47. ^ (source: Bayer Institute for Health Care Communication, date viewed: 20.01.02)
  48. ^ (source: Carnegie Library, date viewed: 20.01.02)
  49. ^ (source: The Clayton News-Star, date viewed: 20.01.02)
  50. ^ (source: Bayer, date viewed: 20.01.02)
  51. ^ (source: STEP/The American Soybean Association, date viewed: 19/01/02)
  52. ^ (source: STEP/The American Soybean Association, date viewed: 19/01/02)
  53. ^ (source: Europa Bio's PR friends BURSON-MARSTELLER: PR FOR THE NEW WORLD ORDER, by Carmelo Ruiz, date viewed: 21.01.02)
  54. ^ (Top PR Companies, year: 2000, source: Marketing Report, date viewed: 20.01.02)
  55. ^ (source: O'Dwyer's Directory of PR Firms, date viewed: 21.01.02)
  56. ^ (source: Golin/Harris, date viewed: 21.01.02)
  57. ^ (source: Holmes Report, date viewed: 19.01.02)
  58. ^ Ibid.
  59. ^ (source: O'Dwyer's Directory of PR Firms, date viewed: 21.01.02)
  60. ^ (source: Holmes Report, date viewed: 19.01.02)
  61. ^ Source: The Guardian, 28 November 2001 (,7494,608417,00.html), date viewed: 20.01.02)
  62. ^ (source: Fleishman-Hillard, date viewed: 19.01.02)
  63. ^ (source: Fleishman-Hillard, date viewed: 19.01.02)
  64. ^ (source: PR Watch, date viewed: 20.01.02)
  65. ^ (source: PR Watch, date viewed: 20.01.02)
  66. ^ (source: Corporate Europe Observatory, date viewed: 20/01/02)
  67. ^,2763,507342,00.html (source: The Guardian, date viewed: 21.01.02)
  68. ^ (source: organic consumers, date viewed: 20.01.02)
  69. ^ (source: WBCSD, date viewed: 20.01.02)
  70. ^ (source: O'Dwyer's Directory of PR Firms, date viewed: 21.01.02)
  71. ^ (source: O'Dwyer's Directory of PR Firms, date viewed: 21.01.02)
  72. ^ (source: HolmesReport, "The most comprehensive source of news, knowledge, and career information for public relations professionals", date viewed: 20.01.02)
  73. ^ (source: FTC, date viewed: 19.01.02)