The Apollo 11 astronauts, on their legendary mission that brought the first man to walk on the moon at 20:17:40 on 20 July 1969, had very few medicines on board. Two of them were based on 2-2-imidazoline hydrochloride, a component of Nasivin and, together with dexamethasone, of Nasicortin, both drugs registered and distributed in Italy by Bracco Industria Chimica. It was a proud moment for a family of Dalmatian exiles who in 1927 had come from the small island of Nerezine in Istria to Milan, where they became successful entrepreneurs.
Nasivin, as explained in the precious leaflet preserved in the Bracco Historical Archive, was indicated for rhinitis, nasopharyngitis, sinusitis and conjunctivitis, and stood out for its high efficacy and performance. Similarly, Nasicortin was a decongestant of the mucous membranes and an anti-inflammatory, and also included an ophthalmic use as well as nasal.
But the list of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, which in the Bracco Group’s extended history have earned the trust of doctors, pharmacists and patients, is long.
Among those that the company was licensed to sell in Italy, Eutirox, Mepral, Xamamina, Collirio Alfa and Friliver were widely used, and have been associated with the Bracco name for many years. But the company’s own chemistry, pharmacology and microbiology laboratories also produced many successful pharmaceuticals: vitamins, sulfonamides, antituberculars, antispasmodics, antirheumatics, cortisones, antianemics, antiallergics, analgesics, and antiasthmatics – in addition to the contrast media which have revolutionized diagnostic imaging on, may we say, a “planetary” level.
Some of these products had outstanding success.
In 1934, Cebion put an end to the plague of scurvy, making synthetic Vitamin C, universally recognized for its antioxidant and immune system defense properties, available to everyone. In 1939, solely through the work of Italian clinicians and researchers, Bracco produced Novotrans, a solution to preserve blood for transfusions.
In 1948, at a time when antibiotics were not yet available in Italy, Diazil, a sulfonamide, was introduced to the market and was immediately in high demand by doctors all over the country, especially because there was a strong flu epidemic that year.
In 1956, the specialty Piraldina was launched, an anti-tuberculosis medicine which was the first pyrazinamide-based product to be marketed in the world. Bracco was the only European producer, exporting it to Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, Holland, Austria and Luxembourg.
In 1962, Bracco researchers created iodamide, the first contrast agent for diagnostic imaging, a sector on which the Group increasingly focused until becoming an undisputed world leader, followed by other drugs for all imaging modalities, from magnetic resonance to ultrasound. All great successes that have contributed to the steady growth of the company, which over time has placed itself at the forefront of health care for people through advanced prevention tools and continuous research and innovation.