In 1890, salicylic acid was cheaply manufactured as an effective inflammation reliever for rheumatoid arthritis, despite unpleasant side effects (nausea, gastric catarrh). Acetylsalicylic acid (or aspirin) was synthesized in 1897 by German chemist Felix Hoffmann at Bayer and tested pharmacologically by Heinrich Dreser. Production started in 1899.
Aspirin was sold as first pills ever in 1900. Aspirin became popular soon as it exerted much less side-effects compared with salicylic acid. Aspirin, the first medicine produced at industrial level, is among the pills manufactured in high amounts still today. It was consumed mainly as an anti-headache drug until the mid eighties. Its beneficial effect in preventing heart attacks was also unraveled in this time.