Demulen Oral Contraceptive

Description (Brief)
The popularity of “the Pill” created a new market for pharmaceutical companies. For the first time, healthy women would be taking medication for an extended period of time. Pill manufacturers developed unique packaging in order to distinguish their product from those of their competitors and build brand loyalty. Packaging design often incorporated a “memory aid” to assist women in tracking their daily pill regimen, as well as styled cases to allow pills to be discreetly carried in bags and purses. The National Museum of American History’s Division of Medicine and Science’s collection of oral contraceptives illustrates some of the changes that the packaging and marketing of the Pill underwent from its inception in 1960 to the present.
Searle & Company produced this Demulen brand oral contraceptive in San Juan, Puerot Rico, around 1975. The Demulen pills came in a yellow plastic compact case. Inside the compact is a 21-pill blister pack that organizes the monthly pill regimen into weekly rows, labeled by day of the week. The starter kit includes a prescription blank and a paper insert with directions for use for the patient, as well as a promotional booklet for “the Pill.”
Currently not on view
Object Name
pharmaceutical, compact of
oral contraceptive
contraceptive, oral
date made
Searle and Company
Physical Description
ethynodiol diacetate, 1 mg (drug active ingredients)
ethinyl estradiol, 50 mcg (drug active ingredients)
white (overall color)
overall: 18.7 cm x 11.2 cm x 1 cm; 7 3/8 in x 4 7/16 in x 3/8 in
overall: 3/4 in x 4 1/2 in x 7 1/2 in; 1.905 cm x 11.43 cm x 19.05 cm
place made
Puerto Rico: San Juan, San Juan
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Birth Control/Contraception
Health & Medicine
Birth Control
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Birth Control
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Gladys Abell and Lester D. Johnson, Jr., M.D.

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