- Berocca, Bayer's orange-colored, disc-shaped pick-me-up tablet containing B vitamins, vitamin C, zinc, and (in some versions) caffeine, will finally be sold in the U.S. at stores such as Safeway, CVS, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, and Target, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.
- Berocca was created by Swiss giant Roche in the 1960s and eventually made its way into Bayer's portolio when the latter company snapped up Roche's consumer health department in 2005.
- While it is marketed as a pick-me-up and is commonly used as a hangover cure by people in 70 countries -- including Australia, South Africa, England, Korea, and France -- there is debate about whether or not the supplement actually provides the "invigoration" that marketers claim it does.
Bayer has been careful about making grandiose claims about Berocca's usefulness as a hangover cure. “Whilst there have been no studies conducted on the effect of Berocca on hangovers, alcohol can affect the absorption and use of the B group vitamins," said the company in a statement. "Apart from the other essential vitamins and minerals, Berocca is a high-dose vitamin B supplement which may help restore depleted levels of B-vitamins. Drinking a lot of water or other rehydrating drinks will help towards preventing or lessening most hangover symptoms. Having a Berocca effervescent tablet in water may also help you rehydrate.”
Irrespective of its efficacy, Bayer is going all-in with its U.S. marketing campaign for Berocca in an attempt to make up for nearly a decade of lost American sales. Company spokespeople say the tablet can hit a sweet spot between multivitamin and energy drink, and Bayer is enlisting big-name celebrities such as The Soup's and Community's Joel McHale in its U.S. marketing drive.
One major, noticeable side effect that American users may have to get used to? Berocca's propensity to turn urine a bright yellow -- and even orange -- color that some have dubbed "radioactive."