Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Founded in 1896 by Fritz Hoffmann-La Roche, the company was early on known for producing various vitamin preparations and derivatives. In 1957 it introduced the class of tranquilizers known as benzodiazepines (with Valium and Rohypnol being the best known members). Its acne drug Accutane (also marketed as Roaccutane) is a market leader. It has also produced various HIV tests and antiretroviral drugs. It bought the patents for the important polymerase chain reaction technique in 1992. It manufactures several cancer drugs.
The company is world-wide market leader in vitamins, with a market share of 40% in 1999. Between 1990 and 1999, the company participated in an illegal price fixing cartel for vitamins. Other members of the cartel were BASF and Rhone-Poulenc SA . In 1999, Roche plead guilty in the U.S. and paid a $500 million fine, then the largest fine ever secured in the U.S. The European Commission fined Roche 462 million euros for the same infraction in 2001, also a record fine at the time.
Roche Holding AG is publicly traded over the counter through the pink sheets with stock symbol RHHBF.PK. Its revenues during fiscal year 2002 were $9400 million, ranking 13th amongst the pharmaceutical companies of the world.
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