RIP: Albert Hofmann

Albert Hofmann, the inventor of LSD, has died at the age of 102. The story of the development of drugs, legal and illegal, is one of the more fascinating business stories of the 20th Century. It’s fashionable today to say that we live in the Digital Age. Sometimes I think we live in the Drug Age. (For example, check out the amazing story of Aspirin.)
Hofmann developed LSD in 1938 when he was working for Sandoz (now Novartis, but I doubt you’ll find that fact in their annual reports) and took the first hit in 1943. For a while, the drug was seen an aid for the psychiatry profession, hence Timothy Leary and the Army tests. In fact, LSD was perfectly legal up until 1966.
Of all the major stock sectors, the major pharmaceutical stocks have probably had the best long-term performance of any sector. In recent years, stocks like Merck and Pfizer and others have stumbled, but for decade after decade, these types of stocks were world beaters. New leaders will emerge, but this sector has been a great triumph of free enterprise, and I think it will continue to be so.

Posted by on April 30th, 2008 at 7:07 am

The information in this blog post represents my own opinions and does not contain a recommendation for any particular security or investment. I or my affiliates may hold positions or other interests in securities mentioned in the Blog, please see my Disclaimer page for my full disclaimer.