Company History

Otis Clapp & Son, Inc.

Founded in 1840, Otis Clapp & Son, Inc. is one of the country's oldest pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Otis Clapp & Son, Inc.

It all began in 1840 when Otis Clapp opened the doors of his small retail pharmacy in Boston's Back Bay. His varied background included publishing and public service when he served as a member of The Massachusetts House Of Representatives. He became one of the founders of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) and The Home For Little Wanderers, one of the first orphanages. From 1862-1875, Otis even served as The Federal Collector of Internal Revenue! His appointment, which was personally signed by President Abraham Lincoln, is still displayed by the company in its Canton, MA headquarters.

As described by a turn-of-the-century, handwritten, and now faded Otis Clapp research diary, "the early 70's brought Otis's son, Dr. J. Wilkinson Clapp, to the company as a partner" (the writer was referring to the 1870's as opposed to the 1970s). Dr. Clapp, a research scientist first, and a businessman second, devoted a great deal of his time to the Boston University Medical School where he was a professor of pharmacy. His contributions to the school included numerous research projects, the installation of operating room facilities, and student nursing accommodations. Dr. Clapp was the "son" part of Otis Clapp & Son, Inc.

During the early 1900's

Lowell T. Clapp, grandson of the founder, joined the firm to bring a third generation to the original company. Lowell, a pharmaceutical chemist and bacteriologist, designed a new and completely equipped laboratory for research on Boston's Newbury Street. Experts in the biological and physical sciences were employed to bring balance to the company's work in bacteriology, physics and chemistry. In this facility, Otis Clapp formulations were compounded and pharmaceutical preparations tried, tested and approved. continue reading »

Company History(continued)

A Commitment to Specialization

As the decades passed and the company's reputation and medications became more well known, knowledge of its research work, pharmacology and manufacturing excellence spread through the medical community. Many of the original formulations developed by the company became drug industry standards and are now being used by a number of leading healthcare manufacturers today.

During the early 1950's, the role of the neighborhood pharmacy began to change as groceries, household goods and other miscellaneous items hit store shelves. Supermarkets also began to carry medications and health-related items for their shoppers. More and more doctors began to write prescriptions for their patients and no longer dispensed medications directly. As a result, the company's activities centered on meeting the needs for non-prescription medications for New England's medical healthcare dispensaries, particularly those in the workplace.

Industrial Health Becomes Top Priority

As more people entered the workplace, employers began to realize the importance of worker productivity. When they discovered that productivity and profitability was directly related to employee wellness, industrial health and safety issues became a high priority. Subsequently, more and more employers and occupational healthcare professionals turned to Otis Clapp for their healthcare needs. In order for Otis Clapp to keep up with the growing demand, it sought the additional healthcare products of Buffington, Inc., a distinguished manufacturing and pharmaceutical company founded in 1865 by Elisha D. Buffington. Shortly thereafter, Buffington joined Otis Clapp as a division with its line of specialty products designed to meet the needs of the workplace. continue reading »

Company History(continued)

Otis Clapp and Buffington Develop the Unit Dose Package Design

By working closely with industrial healthcare professionals, Otis Clapp and Buffington were the first pharmaceutical companies to recognize the distinctly different needs of the occupational health nurse and the patient - the employee. They concentrated on developing formulations and packages especially for use within the workplace. They sought to excel within the field of occupational healthcare.

In the 1960's, Otis Clapp and Buffington designed a dispensing package which revolutionized the industry. The development was unit dose packaging and dispensing. The unit dose packaging system, called "The Safety-Pack" ("SP") under Otis Clapp and "Dispens-A-Kit" ("DAK") under Buffington, became an instant success with occupational clinics across the country. It assured product integrity by carrying ingredients, usage directions and warnings on individually sealed packets. Color coding made dispensing safe as well as convenient for the occupational health professional. Safety-Packs and Dispens-A-Kits went on to set a trend for the entire pharmaceutical industry and became the most preferred package design purchased by employee health service clinics.

The Development of Special Formulations to Meet the Needs of the Industrial Workplace

Otis Clapp and Buffington recognized that many pharmaceutical formulations did not satisfy the special needs of the workplace. For example, the only treatments available to an employee with cold symptoms were medications with antihistamine ingredients. A formula with antihistamines, however, caused drowsiness and lowered the productivity of the worker. An employee who was not completely alert when using certain equipment, (i.e. a fork lift, motor vehicles, etc.), became a danger to him or herself, as well as to other co-workers. Consequently, Otis Clapp and Buffington developed and manufactured the first antihistamine free cold formulations, bringing into the marketplace two all-around cold relieving medications: Emagrin Forte and Fendol.

Otis Clapp and Buffington have become the country's largest manufacturer of pharmaceuticals for industry. Today, they offer a full product line designed especially for the workplace. Together they are the most well known non-prescription pharmaceutical supplier whose sole mission is to enhance the profession of occupational health and the careers of those who serve in it.

In 2008, Otis Clapp and Buffington were acquired by Medique Inc., combining the top companies in the Occupational Health Care Industry.

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