How did Andrews Liver Salts became the highest-selling antacid in the world?
Scott & Turner introduce Andrews Liver Salts
William Henry Scott (1860 – 1922) and William Murdoch Turner (1862 – 1932) were proprietors of a successful wholesale margarine business at Gallowgate, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Scott was a prominent Wesleyan Methodist. He was a well-liked man, and held in a high regard by his workforce.
Scott & Turner began to manufacture Andrews Liver Salts, an antacid and stomach reliever, from 1895. The product was named after their office, located at St Andrew’s Buildings. Annual sales amounted to over two million tins by 1907.
Turner sold his stake in the business to W H Scott in 1907 and entered into retirement.
Sales of Andrews Liver Salts continued to grow, and the Gallowgate works were repeatedly expanded to accommodate increased production.
Scott & Turner advertised Andrews Liver Salts as the highest-selling antacid in Britain by 1922. Around 300 people were employed by this time.
Scott continued to act as chairman of Scott & Turner until his death in 1922.
Sterling Drug acquires Scott & Turner
Scott & Turner was acquired by Sterling Drug of the United States in 1923.
Andrews Liver Salts were introduced to the Canadian market from 1924.
Andrews Liver Salts were advertised as the highest-selling antacid in the world from 1926.
Scott & Turner was acquired by Drug Inc of the United States in 1929.
A new gas-powered factory was established in 1934. A total of 350 to 450 people were employed.
Staff hours were reduced to five days a week, with no reduction in pay from 1935.
There were around 500 employees by 1944.
A new factory at Fawdon, Newcastle was opened in 1949 in order to meet rapidly growing demand overseas for Liver Salts. 27 percent of Liver Salt production was exported. The Gallowgate site was divested.
Export sales of Liver Salts ran at about £1 million a year by 1952.
Scott & Turner rebuilt the Fawdon site with high levels of automation in 1956.
Sterling Drug merged Scott & Turner with another subsidiary, Charles H Phillips Chemical Co, manufacturers of Milk of Magnesia, to form Phillips, Scott & Turner in 1960. The head office was at Acton Vale, London, and the northern sales office was based in Newcastle upon Tyne.
Andrews was the clear market leader in stomach remedies in Britain as late as 1978. A television campaign featuring the Pink Panther cartoon character boosted sales by 40 percent in 1986.
Andrews Liver Salts contained sodium bicarbonate, citric acid and magnesium sulphate as of 1993.
Recent ownership and closure of the Fawdon site
Sterling Healthcare was acquired by SmithKline Beecham in 1994.
About 700 people were employed at the Fawdon plant in 1994.
SmithKline Beecham merged with GlaxoWellcome to form GlaxoSmithKline in 2000.
The Fawdon site was closed in 2015. Andrews Liver Salts production was transferred to Spain.
Andrews Liver Salts was the fifth highest-selling indigestion remedy in Britain in 2017, behind Gaviscon, Rennie, Nexium and Zantac.