MEDICE Health Family celebrates anniversary of Schaper & Brümmer


It has been 100 years since the two pioneers in the field of modern phytotherapy - Erich Schaper and Albert Brümmer - founded their own company in Ringelheim, Lower Saxony, and began producing natural pharmaceuticals. A unique success story took its course, in which "Schaper & Brümmer" developed from a small but fine manufactory to an internationally operating supplier of highly effective phytopharmaceuticals and finally to the phytocompetence center of the MEDICE Health Family. Thanks to entrepreneurial commitment and idealism across the generations, a large number of herbal medicines were launched over the course of time, some of which have now been successfully established on the pharmacy market for decades - including the well-known "cold shortener"1 Esberitox®, the hormone-free2 alternative for menopausal symptoms Remifemin® and the causative therapy of urinary tract infections Cystinol akut® with antibacterial3,4 effect. Today, as a member of the MEDICE Health Family, Schaper & Brümmer stands for high-quality, scientifically based phytopharmaceuticals "Made in Germany" and will continue to use its highly specialized phytocompetence in the future to intensively research the healing powers of nature and use them for the benefit of the health of people all over the world.

How it all began...

Today, the pharmaceutical company Schaper & Brümmer, including production facilities, research facilities along with laboratories, logistics center and even selected cultivation areas for medicinal plants, is located just a few steps away from the original founding site: the phytocompetence center of the MEDICE Health Family. It all began quite modestly in 1923 in Ringelheim, a village and railroad junction in Lower Saxony with a population of just under 1,500. In the midst of the political turmoil and economic uncertainty of the Weimar Republic, 22-year-old druggist Erich Schaper and 25-year-old merchant Albert Brümmer began chopping herbs, roots and other plant components by hand in the laundry room of a tiny half-timbered house, which measured just ten square meters, and processing them into so-called "biological" remedies. Among the products of the first hour was the forerunner of Esberitox®: originally conceived as a "lymphatic remedy", Esberitox® has been steadily developed over the past 100 years and today, with Esberitox® COMPACT and Esberitox® for colds, offers complete herbal care for the whole family from the age of 4. In 1925 - just a short time later - Schaper and Brümmer and their growing staff moved into the first purpose-built company building and created another milestone in phytotherapy with the herbal urological Cystinol®. However, difficult years quickly followed, in which the world economic crisis and, shortly thereafter, the National Socialist regime put the emerging company under pressure. Thanks to the great support and solidarity of the people of Ringelheim, Wehrmacht orders to supply the soldiers at the front, and a lot of luck, Schaper & Brümmer was nevertheless able to maintain production and even quickly increase it again after the end of the war, as the factory had survived unscathed. In the period that followed, the medium-sized pharmaceutical company experienced its own personal economic miracle, which culminated in 1956 with the market launch of Remifemin®, the only gynecological product for menopausal complaints containing a special isopropanolic extract from the black cohosh (isopropanolic Cimicifuga racemosa special extract, or iCR® for short).

Change of scene: from Ringelheim to Iserlohn

At the same time, in Iserlohn, about 250 km away from Ringelheim, the former alternative practitioner Gustav Pütter also took advantage of the new spirit and the economic upswing to develop and produce high-quality remedies for the treatment as well as prevention of diseases to improve the quality of life. In 1949, MEDICE was born and, as with Schaper & Brümmer, natural therapies were always a priority in Pütter's company. One of the herbal medicines of the later MEDICE Health Family, which has its roots in naturopathy, is the flushing therapy for urinary tract infections Aqualibra®. But that is not enough of the similarities: Both Schaper & Brümmer and MEDICE, as medium-sized family-owned companies, have been and remain loyal to Germany as a business location. Thanks to their flexibility and flat hierarchies, they have also been more successful than some large corporations in sensing the spirit of the times and staying one step ahead of it. It is therefore not surprising that close, even personal ties existed between the two companies as early as the 1970s.

From experience comes solid knowledge

As early as around 1950, long before the German Medicines Act required it, Schaper & Brümmer set itself the challenge of scientifically substantiating the composition, efficacy and tolerability of its own phytopharmaceuticals - until then, the use of corresponding preparations had been based primarily on traditional lore and empirical knowledge. The "Scientific Department" was founded and from then on devoted itself intensively to research, whereby great importance was attached early on to cooperation with external institutes and universities. Many active ingredients of the medicinal plants used could be identified in the meantime. On top of that, controlled cultivation ensured a consistently high quality of the raw material. Both factors allowed the production of high-quality medicines that could also be tested on humans and compared with other dosage forms and products. Numerous publications on Schaper & Brümmer's phytopharmaceuticals have been published since then - including randomized controlled trials as well as meta-analyses - and thus also provided support for updating important plant monographs and medical guidelines. There is no question that the well-founded and tested quality of herbal medicines also means a great benefit for patients - after all, these are mainly used today in the context of self-medication and must therefore be especially safe.

Quality overcomes borders

The second half of the 20th century at Schaper & Brümmer and MEDICE was characterized by rationalization and modernization as well as intensification of research. There were also generational changes at the top in both companies. At the same time, exports gained in importance. Schaper & Brümmer already maintained business relations in the pre-war period, for example to Argentina and India or to the USA. However, the certified quality and scientific basis of the company's products qualified them for international distribution beyond the promise of "Made in Germany". In 1994, the company was the first Western phytopharmaceutical manufacturer ever to receive a drug registration for the Chinese market - a pioneering achievement and another milestone in the company's history. Meanwhile, the herbal medicines of the phytopharmaceutical expert are available in more than 35 countries worldwide and the export share is about 30%. In 2021, MEDICE took over the majority of the company shares of Schaper & Brümmer. Since then, both family-owned companies have been operating as part of the MEDICE Health Family, which opens up the great opportunity to combine phyto- and pharmaceutical competences and to use synergies in order to assert themselves as leading health specialists while continuing to grow sustainably.

Perfectly equipped for the future

Herbal medicines have traditionally held a high reputation in Germany and have a solid role in self-medication. Especially in the case of pharmacy quality, the willingness to buy is unbroken. At the same time, the health consciousness of the population and the desire for natural, gentle alternatives in the case of illness increases and with it the importance of herbal medicines. Schaper & Brümmer, as the phytocompetence center of the MEDICE Health Family, has been one of the main players in the phytomedicine market for 100 years and will continue to develop the sector in the future. With its well-known products, the supplier consistently serves high-turnover indication groups - from colds and coughs to stress and sleep disorders, menopausal complaints and bladder problems. The entrepreneurial focus will therefore continue to be on the core competencies and brands, which will be permanently developed and expanded in order to decisively shape national and international healthcare and to continue the success story of Schaper & Brümmer and the MEDICE Health Family.

1 Study conducted with same-agent product; source: Henneicke-von Zepelin, H.-H., et al, Current Medical Research and Opinion, Vol. 15 (1999): 214-227.

2 Castelo-Branco, Climacteric 24 (2), 2021, 109-119.

3 See SmPC (Cystinol akut Dragees, as of 03/2021).

4 In vitro study (antibacterial effect demonstrated only in laboratory studies and only for certain bacteria): Nicken et al, GPT Congress, Münster, Germany, Z für Phytotherapie, 38 (Suppl. 1), p39, (2017).