In the 1870s, Percival Austin Benjamins, a young Jamaican, parlayed his keen interest in the popular Jamaican practice of using bush teas, herbal medicines and self-medication into what is the oldest drug manufacturing company in Jamaica.
Established in 1879, P.A. Benjamins Manufacturing Company Limited - originally called "Benjamins's Jamaica Healing Oil Factory" was initially stocked with a large array of its founder's own bottled preparations, concocted of the young apothecary's knowledge of medicine. The savvy young businessman soon recognized the marketing potential of making his products available to Jamaicans abroad and, in a stroke of marketing genius set out to acquire customers, among them Jamaicans at work on the construction of the Panama Canal. Benjamins’s aggressive salesmanship led to the infiltration of markets throughout the Caribbean, markets which the company has managed to retain and systematically expand upon.
In 1930, two years after the founder's death, P.A Benjamins Manufacturing Company was purchased by the firm of Cecil B. Facey. However, the change of ownership did not derail the company, although the line of products became less patent medicine oriented and the "cures" were dropped. The Healing Oil, Pomades and the already internationally popular Khus Khus line of perfumes continued to form the backbone of the company. In the late 1950's, the Matalon family, who had already established themselves in the local pharmaceutical industry through Commodity Service Company, acquired Cecil B. Facey Limited and P.A. Benjamins. The change of ownership breathed new life into P.A.B., which thereafter continued to grow by a planned programme of product development and exports. Around the same time, P.A.B. established a new home at 97 East Street, Kingston Jamaica.
In 1962, P.A.B. along with Cecil B. Facey were incorporated into the newly formed ICD Group of Companies