FH Faulding & Co., a multinational company with its corporate headquarters and major factory in suburban Adelaide, is Australia’s only national pharmaceutical wholesaler, and one of only three major Australian-owned pharmaceutical manufacturers.

The company began on 19 May 1845 when Francis Hardy Faulding opened a retail pharmacy in Rundle Street, Adelaide. He took Luther Scammell as partner and the business prospered, with Scammell becoming its owner following Faulding’s death in 1868. Scammell developed a chain of retail pharmacies, built a warehouse on King William Street and in 1876 diversified into winemaking. Luther’s sons, William and Luther Robert, acquired the business in 1888, selling the retail operations. Faulding developed several successful products under the Solyptol name. Its test for determining the eucalyptol content of eucalyptus oil became the industry standard and was included in the British Pharmacopoeia in 1893. FH Faulding & Co. became a private company in 1921.

Products developed by the company include ‘Barrier Cream’, formulated in late 1941 to counter dermatitis in armament factories, and penicillin produced at a bacteriological laboratory built at Thebarton in 1944. After the Second World War Faulding extended its product range and wholesaling activities, becoming a public company in September 1947. Faulding benefited from technology transfer with overseas companies in return for the Australian rights to their products.

The company’s most significant recent achievements have been the development of sustained-release drugs, with Eryc – enteric-coated pellets of erythromycin – it’s most notable success. Launched in Australia on 1 April 1977, this drug helped Faulding establish a bridgehead in the United States of America and in 1981 licensing and supply agreements were concluded with Warner Lambert. Faulding’s success spurred takeover bids subsequently.

By Peter Donovan

This entry was first published in The Wakefield companion to South Australian history edited by Wilfrid Prest, Kerrie Round and Carol Fort (Adelaide: Wakefield Press, 2001). Edited lightly and references updated. Uploaded 20 March 2014.


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Image: Francis Hardy Faulding
Image: Faulding Laboratories
Image: Luther Scammell
Image: Faulding Laboratories workers
Image: window display with range of chemist products
Image: Faulding Laboratories equipment
Image: F.H. Faulding & Co. building
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