Bayer kicks the cotton habit

Without much to-do, Bayer Corp. discontinued the use of its familiar cotton wad from its Bayer aspirin bottles last January. Bayer had been using the cotton for most of the century to keep fragile aspirin tablets from breaking during shipment, says Anne Coiley, manager of public relations for the Pittsburgh, PA, company.

Since the '80s, however, Bayer has coated the aspirin to prevent breakage, making the cotton wad superfluous.

So why has it taken so long to oust the cotton? Tradition, Coiley says.

She goes on to say that the decision to forgo the cotton had been in the works for four-and-a-half years. But the final push came when Bayer gelcaps were introduced in December without the cotton wad in the bottle. "That made us re-look at the whole product line. There was no real reason to keep [the cotton] in," Coiley explains.

Bayer still packs its more fragile products with cotton. When asked about material cost savings, Coiley says she believes Bayer is saving money by not using cotton, but she doesn't have any figures to prove that.

Consumer response has been overwhelmingly positive, Coiley concludes.

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