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Klaus Schmiegel - Famous Inventor

: Klaus Schmiegel
: 28-June-1939
: Germany
: Stanford University, University of Michigan, Dartmouth College
: Inventor

About Inventor

Klaus Schmiegel (1939) is an German Inventor,he is most famous for his work in organic chemistry, which led to the invention of Prozac, a widely used antidepressant.

Studies and Career

Klaus Schmiegel was born in Chemitz, Germany on June 28, 1939. After he immigrated to the United States in 1951, Schmiegel received a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Michigan, an A.M. in organic chemistry from Dartmouth College, and a Ph.D in organic chemistry from Stanford University. His strong educational background secured him a prestigious position as a senior organic chemist at Eli Lilly, a prominent pharmaceutical company.

Invention of Prozac

Eli Lilly recognized the potential of its new drug, but the company first tested it as a high blood pressure medication, an anti-obesity drug, and a remedy for severe depression. After those testing failures, Eli Lilly succeeded in treating five mildly depressed people; fluoxetine had found its niche. Eli Lilly announced its findings in 1974 and launched Prozac in 1987 after receiving FDA approval.

The “wonder drug” replaced earlier medications, tricyclic antidepressants, which were less effective with serious side effects such as headaches, blurred vision and hypertension. By 1999, Prozac was bringing in $2.5 billion per year, 25% of Eli Lilly’s revenue. The drug helped erase the stigma of depression, inspiring celebrities and public figures to flaunt rather than hide their sufferings.

Prozac, which is recognized by Fortune magazine as a “Product of the Century,” has few side effects; it has been widely beneficial for those suffering from depression, obsessive compulsive disorders, panic disorders, eating disorders and premenstrual dysphoric disorders. However, some contend that Prozac has been doled out too liberally—it has even been prescribed for animals. Peer drugs, including Zoloft and Paxil, which are also SSRIs, have experienced similar successes.

Unfortunately for Eli Lilly, its patent on Prozac expired in 2001, causing massive revenue losses. The company hopes to bounce back with its newest drug, Cymbalta, a painkiller and an antidepressant combined.

Awards Received by Inventor

National Inventors Hall of Fame, 1999

American Innovator Award, 1999