A team of researchers at the pharmaceutical company Pliva —Gabrijela Kobrehel, Gorjana Radobolja-Lazarevski, and Zrinka Tamburašev, led by Dr. Slobodan Đokić—discovered azithromycin in 1980. It was patented in 1981. In 1986, Pliva and Pfizer signed a licensing agreement, which gave Pfizer exclusive rights for the sale of azithromycin in Western Europe and the United States. Pliva put its azithromycin on the market in Central and Eastern Europe under the brand name Sumamed in 1988. Pfizer launched azithromycin under Pliva's license in other markets under the brand name Zithromax in 1991. 
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I asked my doctor, Eileen Hoffman, MD, (and Clinical Associate Professor, Dept. of Medicine at NYU Langone Center) what the deal was. She told me that she just finished a course at Harvard on Infectious Diseases in Primary Care. “The bottom line is most things don’t require antibiotics — especially respiratory ones: Green phlegm can be seen in viral infections and doesn’t mean it’s bacterial and requires antibiotics.” The Harvard course recommended waiting 2 WEEKS before using antibiotics to treat a cough.