Miles Laboratories

Miles Laboratories
Industry Health care
Fate Renamed under the North American division of Bayer AG
Successor North American division of Bayer AG
Founded 1884
Defunct 1995
Headquarters Elkhart, Indiana, U.S.
Products Alka-Seltzer, Flintstones Vitamins, One-A-Day Vitamins and Bactine
Parent Bayer AG (1979–1995)

Miles Laboratories was founded as the Dr. Miles Medical Company in Elkhart, Indiana, in 1884 by Franklin Miles, a specialist in the treatment of eye and ear disorders, with an interest in the connection of the nervous system to overall health. Miles operated as an independent firm from 1884 until 1979 and as a wholly owned subsidiary of Bayer AG from 1979 until 1995, when it was consolidated into the parent corporation.


By 1890, the sales success of his patent medicine tonic, Dr. Miles' Nervine, in treating "nervous" ailments (including "nervousness or nervous exhaustion, sleeplessness, hysteria, headache, neuralgia, backache, pain, epilepsy, spasms, fits, and St. Vitus' dance") led him to develop a mail order medicine business. Miles also published Medical News, a thinly disguised marketing vehicle for Nervine. Nervine remained on the market as a "calmative" until the late 1960s. In 1935, the name of the company was changed to Miles Laboratories.

In 1979, Bayer AG, whose original U.S. and Canadian aspirin business was seized as enemy property during World War I and subsequently sold as enemy assets, purchased Miles Laboratories and its subsidiary Miles Canada to reestablish a presence in North America, in the process also acquiring such products as Alka-Seltzer, Flintstones Vitamins, One-A-Day Vitamins and Bactine; it also included the S.O.S Soap Pad and Worthington Foods. Bayer continued to operate Miles Laboratories and developed many drugs based upon biological extracts, such as Kogenate, Gamimune-N and other immunoglobulins, and Trasylol, as well as diagnostic products such as blood glucose test strips and glucose meters. Miles also owned Cutter Laboratories, manufacturer of such diverse products as insect repellent and synthetic human Factor VIII clotting factor for hemophiliacs.

In 1992, Bayer AG moved the United States headquarters of Miles to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from Elkhart, Indiana. On April 1, 1995, Bayer eliminated the Miles brand name from all products and facilities after Bayer had acquired Sterling Winthrop the previous year.

Miles Laboratories also operated sites in other parts of the United States, including West Haven, Connecticut, which are now part of Bayer AG.

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