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Warner-Lambert Co.

Warner-Lambert Co.

201 Tabor Road
Morris Plains, New Jersey 07950-2693
U.S.A.
(201) 540-2000
Fax: (201) 540-3761

Public Company
Incorporated: 1920 as William R. Warner & Co.
Employees: 34,000
Sales: $5.6 billion
Stock Exchanges: New York Zurich Paris London Frankfurt Brussels
SICs: 2834 Pharmaceutical Preparations; 2836 Biological Products Except Diagnostic; 2835 Diagnostic Substances; 2844 Toilet Preparations; 2067 Chewing Gum; 2064 Candy & Other Confectionery Products; 3421 Cutlery

The Warner-Lambert Co. manufactures and markets pharmaceutical, consumer health care, and confectionery products, including such popular brands as Listerine antiseptic mouthwash, Chiclets gum, Halls lozenges, Certs mints, Rolaids antacids, and Schick razors.

The product of a long history of mergers and acquisitions, the Warner-Lambert name reflects the combined assets of two businesses: the William R. Warner Company, a pharmaceutical and cosmetic concern, and Lambert-Pharmacal, manufacturers of Listerine oral antiseptic, which merged in the 1950s. Thereafter, Warner-Lambert became a large multinational corporation under the leadership of Elmer Holmes Bobst.

Bobst arrived at William R. Warner & Company in 1945, already a veteran executive of the pharmaceutical industry and a multimillionaire. As president of Hoffmann-La Roches U.S. office, he had proved instrumental in acquiring for the Swiss company a large share of the U.S. drug market. Many observers were surprised that Bobst accepted the position at Warner; he was then 61 years old, wealthy, and could have settled into a comfortable retirement.

However, when Gustave A. Pfeiffer, Warners chairperson and the only surviving member of the original founding family, approached Bobst with an offer of the presidency, he accepted. Nearly 30 years earlier, Bobst had been asked to join Warner as the head of its pharmaceutical division but declined when the Pfeiffer family refused to sell Bobst any of the company stock (the family held all the common stock). By the mid-1940s, however, Bobst had proved his abilities, and Pfeiffer readily offered the job on Bobsts terms; Bobst was hired and allowed to purchase 11 percent of the common stock. By 1955, Bobsts holdings were worth over $3 million.

What Bobst inherited with his new position was a family operated company suffering from an aging product line and antiquated facilities. Although Pfeiffers 1916 acquisition of the Hudnut cosmetic line accounted for most of the companys $25 million sales, that product line was barely turning a profit. In an effort to improve the image of the cosmetics production, Bobst renamed the firm Warner-Hudnut in 1950.

Warner had a long history of growth through acquisition. Warner was founded in the mid-nineteenth century by William Warner, a Philadelphia pharmacist who had earned a fortune by inventing a sugar-coating for pills. In 1908, the company was acquired by the Gustavus A. Pfeiffer & Company, a patent medicine company from St. Louis. Pfeiffer retained the Warner company name, moved its headquarters to New York, and began a series of acquisitions that included the Hudnut line and the DuBarry cosmetic company. By the time Bobst assumed the presidency, some 50 companies had been acquired during the 99 years of the Warner companys history.

Bobsts managerial style was well suited to this company acquisition policy. Moreover, his experience with high-level industry and political affairs enabled him to hire a new management team of accomplished executives and public figures. Successful investment bankers, business executives, and political officials were brought in, notably Anna Rosenberg, the companys manager of industrial and public relations, who was once the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense, and Alfred Driscoll, later Warners president, who had served as governor of New Jersey for seven years.

In 1952, Bobst made his first major acquisition, purchasing New Jersey Chilcott Laboratories, Inc. Chilcott earned its reputation as a manufacturer of ethical drugs largely through its development of Peritrate, a long-acting vasodilator, which enlarged constricted blood vessels. By 1966, an estimated 56 percent of 3.1 million people afflicted by heart disease used Peritrate. While the sales of the drug became Warner-Hudnuts mark of excellence in the pharmaceutical industry, its success was also cause for some controversy.

Peritrate proved useful in a wider application of treatments than originally allowed, and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved of Peritrates new drug usages in 1959. Over the next several years, however, Warner embarked on a controversial Peritrate advertising campaign. Appearing in several medical journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association, ten page ads advocated the use of Peritrate not only for the treatment of angina, but as a life-prolonging prophylactic for all cardiac patients. The advertisement, based on the results of one study, was released at a time when the FDA had initiated an increasingly aggressive policy of evaluating claims for drug effectiveness. Even as the director of the study refuted the advertisement claims, Warner-Lambert executives stood by the claims for the effectiveness of their drug. However, by 1966, the government, under the directive of the FDA, seized a shipment of the drug, bringing charges against the companys unapproved advocacy of an even wider usage for the drug.

Also during this time, Bobst arranged a merger between his company and Lambert-Pharmacal. Bobst had met the president of Lambert, Edward Williams, at a meeting of the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education, and the two decided that their operations, each producing different but reputable products, would complement one another. Bobst was particularly interested in gaining access to Lamberts well-organized distribution network, which incorporated modern marketing techniques previously unavailable at Warner-Hudnuts. Furthermore, Williams brought a strong background in the management of pharmaceutical companies, enhancing Bobsts accomplished executive team, which had little experience in the pharmaceutical industry. When Warner and Lambert merged, former governor Alfred Driscoll was named president of the new company.

Lamberts Listerine product, which had accounted for over 50 percent of Lamberts total sales, guaranteed Warner a large share of the oral antiseptic market.Listerine was developed in the nineteenth century and became widely popular, particularly under the advertising strategy of Gordon Seagrove, who joined Lambert in 1926 after leaving his job as a Calliope-player in the circus. Seagrove made Listerine a household staple by promoting its ability to cure halitosis, sore throats, and dandruff. The advertising copy for one magazine ad depicted a man encouraging a woman to continue massaging Listerine into his head, with the tagline Tear into it, HoneyIts Infectious Dandruff!

Listerine continued to increase in popularity under its new ownership; by 1975, the oral antiseptic held a sizeable portion of the $300 million market. Warner-Lambert continued to invest heavily in advertising for Listerine. For years, Listerine had been advertised as a preventative measure against colds and sore throats, and, during the Asian flu epidemic of 1957, Bobst personally placed an ad in Life magazine promoting Listerines ability to resist the sickness. The companys advertising agency had earlier rejected the ad, since its claims were unsubstantiated, but the promotion resulted in sales increases of $26 million for the year.

By 1975, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had begun to investigate the Listerine advertisements. The FTC disputed the cold prevention claims of Listerine as insupportable and ordered the company to embark on a disclaimer ad campaign amounting to $10 million, a figure equal to the companys average annual advertising expenditure between 1962 and 1972. The FTC argued that only corrective disclaimers could educate the consumer, and, in 1978, the Supreme Court upheld the FTCs order.

During the 1970s and 1980s, Warner-Lambert made several acquisitions, including Emerson Drug, which made Bromo-Seltzer, cough drop manufacturer Smith Brothers, American Optical, and Schick Shaving. To acquire American Chicle, makers of Chiclets chewing gum, Warner-Lambert used 7.8 million of its own stock, which was then worth about $200 million. Many industry analysts criticized the high price paid for American Chicle; in 1962, the companys net income for the year was under $10 million. By 1983, however, after expanding into foreign markets, Chiclet sales were reaching the $1 billion mark. Ward S. Hagan, chairperson of American Chicle, called its gum and mint business the largest in the world.

Another merger during this time involved Parke, Davis & Co. However, Warner-Lamberts proposal to merge with Parke, Davis was investigated by the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department. According to the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, the merger would raise serious problems because it had the potential to limit competition and create a monopoly. Upon approval, the merger would result in a combined revenue of $1.7 billion and would rank the new company among the 100 largest industrial companies in the United States.

On November 12, 1970, the Justice Department announced it would not challenge the merger despite the Antitrust Divisions recommendation to the contrary. The department referred the matter to the FTC, which held concurrent authority to enforce the Clayton Act. A day later, the merger was completed. By 1976, however, the FTC ordered the company to sell several units of its Parke, Davis subsidiary that produced specified drugs. Those units producing thyroid preparations, cough remedies, cough drops and lozenges, normal albumin serum, and tetanus immune globulin would have to be sold in order to restore competition in those product lines.

Satisfied with the FTCs actions, S. Burke Giblin, chair and chief executive officer of Warner-Lambert at the time of the ruling, nevertheless faced several other challenges in the ensuing years. In 1976, Warner-Lambert disclosed figures to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) concerning illegal payments abroad, announcing that more than $2.2 million in questionable payments had been uncovered in 14 of the 140 countries in which Warner-Lambert conducted business.

Only months later an explosion at an American Chicle plant in Queens, New York, killed six people and injured 55. After a year of investigation, a grand jury indicted the company and four of its officials on charges of reckless manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. The charges were based on reports that the fire department had warned the company about the explosive potential of magnesium stearate dust used as a gum-machine lubricant. Contending that the charges were outrageous and unwarranted, company executives appealed the case. In 1978, a state judge dismissed the charges citing crystal clear and voluminous evidence that the company had tried to eliminate the danger of an explosion. The following year, however, the New York State courts appellate division voted to restore the indictments. Finally, in 1980, the states highest court once again dismissed all charges in connection with the explosion.

Another controversy involved Warner-Lamberts Benylin cough syrup product, which was made available without a prescription in 1975. In response to questions regarding the cough syrups effectiveness, the FDA ordered the drug back on a prescription-only status, and, after seven years of deliberation, a settlement was finally reached in which the FDA approved the reinstated over-the-counter sale of the drug.

In 1978, Warner-Lambert purchased Entenmanns Bakery for $243 million in cash. By 1982, Entenmanns had become Warner-Lamberts most profitable consumer division, with sales reaching $333 million and an annual growth rate of 19 percent. However, during this time, a rumor was started that Entenmanns profits were supporting Reverend Sun Myung Moons Unification Church. Since the source of the rumor was said to come from Westchester county in New York, Warner-Lambert took out an ad in the county newspaper denying the alleged connection. Nevertheless, the rumor continued to circulate and actually received a large amount of publicity in the Boston, Massachusetts, area. It was reported in some places that Entenmanns delivery and sales staff were being harassed, and one Rhode Island church urged a boycott of the baked goods. When sales growth began to slip, Warner-Lambert mailed a letter to 1,600 churches in New England describing Entenmanns history as a family-owned business for 80 years before it was purchased. As Entenmanns profits continued to slip, Warner-Lambert sold the bakery to General Foods for $315 million in 1982.

The late 1970s had proved financially unstable for Warner-Lambert. Profit margins were off by 40 percent in 1979, the majority of revenues came from the sale of consumer goods, and the company was considered a potential takeover candidate. One critic characterized it a floundering giant. That year, Ward S. Hagan replaced Bobst as chairperson, while Joseph D. Williams assumed the chief executive office. Hagan and Williams then embarked on a restructuring program with the goal of revitalizing the pharmaceutical operations and trimming unprofitable and non-core businesses.

Five unprofitable subsidiaries, including American Optical and Entenmanns, were divested between 1982 and 1986, providing Warner-Lambert with capital of nearly $600 million. At the same time, such company programs as the Total Production System aimed to increase productivity by cutting downtime, reducing paperwork, and creating a more flexible work environment. Hagan and Williams closed or consolidated 24 plants in foreign and domestic locations, while reducing the company labor force by almost half, from 61,000 to 32,000. Research for new drugs at the Parke, Davis division was supported by a 20 percent increase in budgetary funds during 1983 to $180 million.

Despite its improved financial condition, Warner-Lambert came under criticism, particularly for its 1982 purchase of IMED Corp., a small hospital supply manufacturer. Many found Warner-Lamberts $468 million purchase, 23 times IMEDs earnings, exorbitant. IMED was the market leader, with 35 percent of sales in the hospital supply field and continued annual sales growth of 50 percent. However, the company was beset with problems. IMEDs executives apparently concentrated on short-term sales goals, at the expense of new product development. In fact, a management conflict between IMEDs manufacturing and research and development executives caused many important employees to resign in frustration. In 1986, Warner-Lambert sold IMED and some of its affiliates to The Henley Group, Inc. for $163.5 million.

Williams, who was given the additional duties of chairperson during Warner-Lamberts turnaround period, was able to report that return on equity had increased from nine to 32 percent from 1979 to 1986, as sales shrunk through divestments and profits held fairly steady. Investing in research and development, and luring industry talent from competing companies, Williams hoped to develop and increase sales of high-margin prescription drugs, such as Lopid, a cholesterol-reducing drug that received positive publicity in the late 1980s. However, a trend among consumers toward treatment without medication, as well as swelling support for reform of the health care industryand the attendant possibility of price controlscaused uncertainty among ethical drug producers. Business was also threatened by a late 1980s recession and discounting in the consumer goods segment.

In anticipation of these potentially adverse market forces, a new chairperson and CEO, Melvin R. Goodes, announced yet another reorganization of Warner-Lambert late in 1991. The plan called for a 2,700-person layoff, reorganization of the global management scheme, and consolidation of operations into two groups: Pharmaceuticals and consumer products. Goodes also began to concentrate the companys marketing efforts on three primary geographic markets: North America, Europe, and Japan. The company invested $1.3 billion in advertising and promotion and $473 million in research and development, apparently banking on its consumer goods, which still constituted 60 percent of annual sales in 1992.

That year, Warner-Lambert became the fourth company to enter the competitive and controversial market for transdermal nicotine patches. Its prescription smoking cessation device, branded Nicotrol, was strongly promoted through direct consumer advertising, and the product enjoyed early success. However, sales quickly declined in 1993; Warner-Lamberts late entry into the segment, chronic product shortages, a lower than expected success rate, side effects, and especially reports that some users had suffered heart attacks, all led to declines in sales.

In 1993, the company became the first to win approval from the FDA for a drug that retarded the progression of Alzheimers disease. Warner-Lambert also formed joint ventures with Glaxo Holdings plc and Wellcome plc to orchestrate the movement of the companies drugs from prescription to over-the-counter and generic markets.

Although still known for reporting some of the industrys lowest profit margins, Warner-Lambert enjoyed steadily increasing sales and profits from 1988 through 1992. Revenue grew from $3.91 billion to $5.6 billion, and profits nearly doubled from $340 million to $644 million during that period. While the consumer goods segment held out relatively low profits, it enjoyed strong international expansion in the late 1980s and early 1990s, helping Warner-Lambert offset some of the losses associated with its ethical drugs.

Principal Subsidiaries:

Adams S. A.; American Chicle Co.; Chicle Adams, S. A.; Euronett, Inc.; Family Products Corp.; Keystone Cemurgic Corp.; Parke, Davis & Co.; Tabor Corp.; Warner-Chilcott Inc.

Further Reading:

Baum, Laurie, A Powerful Tonic for Warner-Lambert, Business Week, November 30, 1987, pp. 44, 146.

Lubove, Seth, Failure Focuses the Mind, Forbes, November 8, 1993, pp. 76-78.

Starr, Cynthia, First-Ever Alzheimers Drug Brings Some Hope to Millions, Drug Topics, October 11, 1993, pp. 16-18.

Weber, Joseph, Curing Warner-LambertBefore It Gets Sick, Business Week, December 9, 1991, pp. 91, 94.

updated by April Dougal Gasbarre

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"Warner-Lambert Co.." International Directory of Company Histories. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Warner-Lambert Co.." International Directory of Company Histories. . Retrieved August 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/books/politics-and-business-magazines/warner-lambert-co

Warner-Lambert

Warner-Lambert

201 Tabor Road,
Morris Plains, New Jersey 07950
U.S.A.
(201) 540-2000

Public Company
Incorporated: November 8, 1920 as William R. Warner &
Co.
Employees: 45,000
Sales: $3.103 billion
Market Value: $5.583 billion
Stock Index: New York Zurich Paris London Frankfurt
Brussels

Warner-Lambert is the product of a long history of mergers and acquisitions. The company name reflects the combined assets of two businesses, including the William R. Warner Company, a pharmaceutical and cosmetic concern with a history that dates back to 1856, and Lambert-Pharmacal, the manufacturers of Listerine oral antiseptic. There is only one person, however, who can be credited with transforming the small company into a large multi-national corporation. His name is Elmer Holmes Bobst.

Bobst arrived at William R. Warner & Company in 1945, already a veteran executive of the pharmaceutical industry. His talent as president of Hoffmann-La Roches U.S. office was instrumental in acquiring for the Swiss company a large share of the U.S. drug market. In addition to making a name for himself as a brilliant business strategist, Bobst earned 5% of the company profits which made him a multimillionaire. For a man that was fond of entertaining Vice President Nixon on his private yacht, Bobsts move to the ailing Warner Company seemed highly unusual.

At the time Bobst was 61 years old and could easily have settled into a comfortable retirement. Instead, when Gustave A. Pfeiffer, chairman of Warner and the only surviving member of the original founding family, approached Bobst with an offer of employment, he accepted the position. As it happened, Pfeiffer had initially asked Bobst to join the company as the head of Warners pharmaceutical division in 1918. However, because the family refused to sell Bobst any of the company stock (the family held all the common stock), he declined the offer. Twenty-seven years later, after Bobst had proven his ability at Hoffmann-La Roche, Pfeiffer readily offered the job on Bobsts terms; Bobst was hired and allowed to purchase 11% of the common stock. By 1955 Bobsts holdings were worth over three million dollars.

What Bobst inherited with his new position, however, was a family operated company suffering from an aging product line and decaying physical properties. Pfeiffers 1916 acquisition of the Hudnut cosmetic line accounted for most of the $25 million sales; yet that same product line barely turned a profit. In an effort to improve the image of the cosmetics production, Bobst renamed the firm Warner-Hudnut in 1950.

Renaming the company was just the first in a series of moves to reorganize the business. Bobsts previous experience with high-level industry and political affairs enabled him to hire accomplished executives and public figures. By hiring such recognized professionals as successful investment bankers, business executives, and political officials (Anna Rosenberg, the companys manager of industrial and public relations, was once the Assistant Secretary of Defense, and Alfred Driscoll, the company president, was the governor of New Jersey for seven years), the company management was filled with new talent.

Despite these developments, one aspect of the company remained the same. Pfeiffers business had not grown by the accomplishments of its own creativity, but rather by a steady series of acquisitions. In fact, the original Gustavus A. Pfeiffer & Company, a patent medicine company from St. Louis, acquired the Warner Company in 1908. William Warner, a Philadelphia pharmacist, earned a fortune by inventing sugar-coated pills before the Civil War. When Pfeiffer purchased the company he moved the headquarters to New York and kept the company name. Then, in addition to buying the Hudnut line, Pfeiffer also acquired the DuBarry cosmetic company. By the time Bobst assumed the presidency, some 50-odd companies had been acquired during the 99 years of the Warner companys history.

Bobsts managerial style was well suited to this company program. In 1952 he made his first major acquisition by purchasing the New Jersey Chilcott Laboratories, Inc. Chilcott earned its reputation as a manufacturer of ethical drugs largely through its development of Peritrate, a long-acting vasodilator. The drug enlarges constricted blood vessels, and by 1966 an estimated 56% of 3.1 million people afflicted by heart disease used it. While the sales of Peritrate became Warner-Hudnuts mark of excellence in the pharmaceutical industry, its success was also cause for some controversy.

In 1959, because the drug proved to be useful in a wider application of treatments than originally allowed, the Food & Drug Administration approved of Peritrates new drug usages. By 1966, however, the government, under the directive of the FDA, seized a shipment of the drug. Due to a controversial Peritrate advertising campaign, the FDA brought charges against the companys unapproved advocacy of an even wider usage for the drug.

Appearing in several medical journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association, the ten page ads advocated the use of Peritrate not only for the treatment of angina, but as a life-prolonging prophylactic for all cardiac patients. The advertisement, based on the results of one study, was released at a time when the FDA had initiated an increasingly aggressive policy of evaluating claims for drug effectiveness. Even as the director of the study refuted the advertisement claims, Warner-Lambert executives stood by the claims for the effectiveness of their drug.

Only a few years after the acquisition of Chilcott, Bobst arranged a merger between his company and Lambert. The merger was the result of an encounter between the two company presidents at a meeting of the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education. The two companies complemented each other well. Their two ethical drug laboratories produced different but reputable products, and Lamberts Listerine sales, which accounted for over 50% of the companys total sales, guaranteed a large share of the oral antiseptic market.

However, Bobst had a larger interest in ensuring the outcome of the proposed merger. Lamberts well-organized distribution network reflected modern marketing techniques which were never incorporated into Warner-Hudnuts antiquated sales approach. Furthermore, Lambert company president Edward Williamss strong background in the management of pharmaceutical companies complemented Bobsts accomplished but inexperienced (within the industry, at least) executives. Thus when the merger became a reality, Williams new position in the company led to ex-Governor Driscolls entrance into the pharmaceutical business as president of the new merger.

One of the most attractive aspects of the merger, however, was the success of Listerine. With publicly accessible information on its formula available since 1879 (it has no patent), and its virtually unchanged brown-paper packaging, Listerines popularity nevertheless continued to grow. Much of its success is traceable to the advertising strategy of Gordon Seagrove. Recruited by Lambert in 1926, and taken away from his job as a Calliope-player in the circus, Seagrove made Listerine a household staple by promoting its ability to cure halitosis, sore throats, and dandruff. The advertising copy for one magazine shows a man encouraging a woman to continue massaging Listerine into his head, Tear into it, Honey Its Infectious Dandruff!

Listerine continued to increase in popularity over the next decades; by 1975 the oral antiseptic held a sizeable portion of the $300 million market. Similarly, the Listerine producers continued to pay large amounts of money for advertisements. Yet Warner-Lamberts promotional investments in Listerine were not without their difficulties. For years the company advertised the mouthwashs ability to prevent colds and sore throats. During the Asian flu epidemic in 1957 Bobst placed an ad in Life magazine promoting Listerines ability to resist the sickness; Warner-Lamberts own advertising agency had earlier balked at using the ad. However, sales for the mouthwash that year increased to $26 million.

By 1975 the Federal Trade Commission began to investigate the Listerine advertisements. Using its untested powers to order corrective advertisements, the FTC disputed the cold prevention claims of Listerine as unsupportable and ordered the company to embark on a $10 million disclaimer campaign. This figure was based on the amount equal to the companys average annual advertising expenditure between 1962 and 1972. Attacking the decades-long cold remedy advertisements, the FTC argued that only corrective disclaimers could educate the consumer. In 1978 the Supreme Court upheld the FTCs order.

The merger between the makers of Listerine and the Warner company was followed by a series of additional acquisitions. Emerson Drug (makers of Bromo-Seltzer), Smith Brothers (makers of cough-drops), American Optical, Schick Shaving, Parke Davis, and American Chicle (makers of Chiclets) were all purchased. To acquire Chicle, Warner-Lambert used 7.8 million of its own shares, worth about $200 million. Many industry analysts criticized the high price paid for the gum manufacturer; in 1962 its net income for the year was under $10 million. By 1983, however, after expanding into foreign markets, the Chicle sales were reaching the one billion dollar mark. Ward S. Hagan, chairman of the company, called the gum and mint business the largest in the world.

The merger of Parke, Davis & Company with Warner-Lambert in 1970 was not subject to the same criticism. It was, however, investigated by the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department. The merger, according to the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, raised serious problems because it had the potential to limit competition and create a monopoly. Upon approval the merger would result in a combined revenue of $1.7 billion and would rank the new company among the 100 largest industrial companies in the U.S.

On November 12, 1970 the Justice Department announced it would not challenge the merger despite the Antitrust Divisions recommendation to the contrary. The department referred the matter to the Federal Trade Commission which holds concurrent authority to enforce the Clayton Act. A day later the merger was completed. By 1976, however, the FTC ordered the company to sell several units of its Parke, Davis subsidiary that produced specified drugs. Those units producing thyroid preparations, cough remedies, cough drops and lozenges, normal albumin serum and tetanus immune globulin would have to be sold in order to restore competition in those product lines.

While S. Burke Giblin, the chairman and chief executive officer of Warner-Lambert at the time of the ruling, welcomed the decision because it permitted Parke, Davis to continue in the area of drug development, several other difficulties faced the company. In 1976 Warner-Lambert disclosed figures to the Securities and Exchange Commission concerning illegal payments abroad. Becoming the ninth company to admit bribe pay-offs, Warner-Lambert announced that more than $2.2 million in questionable payments had been uncovered in 14 of the 140 countries in which it conducted business.

Only months later an explosion at an American Chicle plant in Queens, New York killed six people and injured 55. One year later a grand jury indicted the company and four of its officials on charges of reckless manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. The charges were based on reports that the fire department had warned the company about the explosive potential of magnesium stearate dust used as a gum-machine lubricant. Calling the charges outrageous and unwarranted, company executives appealed the case. In 1978 a state judge dismissed the charges citing crystal clear and voluminous evidence that the company had tried to eliminate the danger of an explosion. In 1979, however, the New York State courts appellate division voted to restore the indictments. Finally, in 1980, the states highest court dismissed once again all charges in connection with the explosion.

In 1981 a settlement was finally reached on the sale of Warner-Lamberts Benylin cough syrup. After seven years of deliberation, the Food and Drug Administration approved the reinstated over-the-counter sale of the drug. In 1975 the company had made the drug available without a prescription, but the FDA ordered the drug back on a prescription-only status after questions were raised about its effectiveness.

In 1978 Warner-Lambert purchased Entenmanns Bakery, for $243 million in cash. The purchase soon proved fortuitous; by 1982 it had become Warner-Lamberts most profitable consumer division with sales reaching $333 million and an annual growth rate of 19%. At some point in the late 1970s, however, a rumor was started that Entenmanns profits were supporting Reverend Sun Myung Moons Unification Church. The source of the rumor was said to come from Westchester county in New York; as a result, Warner-Lambert responded by taking out an ad in the county newspaper denying the alleged connection.

Nevertheless, the rumor continued to circulate and actually received a large amount of publicity in the Boston, Massachusetts area. It was reported in some places that delivery and sales people were being harassed, and one Rhode Island church even urged a boycott. When sales growth began to slip, Warner-Lambert mailed a letter to 1,600 churches in New England describing Entenmanns history as a family-owned business for 80 years before it was purchased. Whether the information campaign was successful or not, Warner-Lambert sold the bakery in 1982 to General Foods for $315 million.

Damaging rumors and criminal indictments aside, Warner-Lambert went through the late 1970s with a poor operating performance. Profit margins were off by 40% in 1979 and most of the company revenues came from the sale of consumer goods. Once Ward S. Hagan replaced Bobst as chairman, he embarked on a restructuring program to revitalize the pharmaceutical operations. American Optical, an unprofitable subsidiary, was sold and Hagan closed or consolidated 24 plants in foreign and domestic locations while reducing the company labor force by 29%. Research for new drugs at the Parke, Davis division was supported by a 20% increase in budgetary funds during 1983 to $180 million. Several newly approved drugs had brought $50 million in domestic sales.

Despite the improved operating performance and a predicted earnings growth of 10 to 15%, Warner-Lamberts unexpected purchase of IMED, a small hospital supply manufacturer, caused Wall Street analysts to shake their heads in disbelief. While IMEDs 35% hold on sales in the hospital supply field made it the market leader and while sales continued to grow annually at an unmatchable 50%, a closer look revealed a company beset with problems.

IMEDs executives apparently concentrated on short-term sales goals, at the expense of new product development. In fact, a management conflict between IMEDs manufacturing and research and development executives caused many important employees to resign in frustration. Thus Warner-Lamberts $468 million purchase, signifying a price at 23 times IMEDs earnings, was largely criticized. Yet Hagan defended the acquisition by arguing that the company is now competitively positioned to exploit the growing market.

Whether IMEDs purchase proves shortsighted or not, company sales increased 2% in 1985 to $3.2 billion with a return on equity at 16% (over an 11% five-year average). Interestingly enough, Capsugel, the Warner-Lambert division that is the worlds largest supplier of unfilled gelatin capsules, overhauled its production operation using Japanese batch manufacturing techniques. These revolutionary measures for streamlining production without risking safety are said to have saved the company $300 million a year. The company also saved $125 million in potential purchases of new machinery. By using Japanese techniques, the machines whose designs date back as far as 1916 were able to increase output by 90%.

Principal Subsidiaries

American Chicle Co.; American Food Industries, Inc.; Chicle Adams, Inc.; Euronett, Inc.; Family Products Corp.; IMED Corp.; Keystone Cemurgic Corp.; Parke, Davis & Co.; Tabor Corp.; Warner-Chilcott Inc. The company also lists subsidiaries in the following countries: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, France, Guatemala, Italy, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, Philippines, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom, and Venezuela.

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"Warner-Lambert." International Directory of Company Histories. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Warner-Lambert." International Directory of Company Histories. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/books/politics-and-business-magazines/warner-lambert

"Warner-Lambert." International Directory of Company Histories. . Retrieved August 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/books/politics-and-business-magazines/warner-lambert