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W. K. Buckley Limited is a corporation operating in Canada that manufactures medicines for health problems such as the common cold. They also have children's medicine which are sold under the brand Jack & Jill. The company is located in Mississauga, Ontario. It is a subsidiary of Novartis.

The company was founded in 1919 by William Knapp Buckley (1890 - 1978),[1] In 1978, after W. K. Buckley's death, his adopted son Frank Buckley became the president of the company. In the mid-1980s, Frank became spokesperson promoting the "It Tastes Awful. And It Works." slogan, which became very successful.

Novartis, the Swiss-based conglomerate with 2005 sales of $32 billion, purchased ownership of the Buckley's brand and formulas in 2002, effectively denying a third generation run at leading Buckley's by Frank's son Donald.[2]

The remaining Buckley company, William Knapp Limited, which provides Marketing consultancy services, is effectively led by David Rieger, The Vice President of Marketing reporting directly to Frank Buckley. Prior to this position, Mr. Rieger held a number of other senior positions with the Buckley organization and with the Novartis conglomerate. As of 2013, Buckley's has not been on sale in the US due to factory issues,[3] and has been reputed to sell on Amazon for ten times the original price.[according to whom?]

Buckley's Mixture[edit]

Buckley's Mixture is a cough syrup invented in 1919 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada[citation needed], and still produced today. Noted for its strongly unpleasant taste (hence its slogan), its ingredients include ammonium carbonate, potassium bicarbonate,[4] camphor, menthol, Canada balsam (Abies balsamea), pine needle oil, and a tincture of capsicum.[5] It is promoted for relief of coughs and sore throats for up to six hours.

Mode of action[edit]


Taken as a liquid, Buckley's DM contains the antitussive dextromethorphan as a hydrobromide salt as an active ingredient.[6] This acts on the nervous system to raise the threshold for coughing, thereby alleviating symptoms. Some "Cough and Cold" remedies have been made containing pseudoephedrine as a nasal decongestant to help with the relief of cold symptoms.

Herbal components of the remedy work by counterstimulation, and perhaps by other mechanisms. Capsaicin, for instance, is known to act as an analgesic with long-term use, which could help dull the pain of a sore throat.

Potential unintended use[edit]

Many cough medications, including Buckley's, have become popular as recreational drugs in recent years.[citation needed] Due to the dissociative properties of dextromethorphan, high doses of cough medication can be used to produce an intoxication. Only 100 mg of dextromethorphan is needed to create a euphoric effect. The lethal dose is between 2,000 mg and 20,000 mg.

Only some of the Buckley's formulations contain dextromethorphan. The original, without DXM, may be purchased.[citation needed] However, recreational use of Buckley's is uncommon, due to the deterrent effects of its taste.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Buckley's: A History of Bad Taste". Buckley's. Buckley's. Archived from the original on 2014-02-02. 
  2. ^ "CBC.ca". CBC News. November 18, 2002. Archived from the original on November 12, 2012. 
  3. ^ Maryanne Firth (2013-01-10). "It tastes awful — and it's hard to come by". St Catherines Standard. 
  4. ^ "Buckley's Mixture Active Ingredients". 
  5. ^ "Buckley's Mixture Herbal Ingredients". 
  6. ^ "Buckley's DM Ingredients".