C-Quens Oral Contraceptive

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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.
Eli Lilly and Company of Indianapolis, Indiana produced this C-Quens brand oral contraceptive around 1965. The paper package is folded matchbook-style with directions and blister pack inside. The pills are laid out to represent a calendar, with 15 white 80 mcg Mestranol tablets, and 5 peach colored tablets that are 80 mcg Mestranol with 2 mg of chlormadinone acetate.
The FDA approved C-Quens for marketing in May,1965. The pills were withdrawn from the market in October, 1970 after tests on dogs suggested that the synthetic progesterone used in the pills, chlormadinone acetate, may increase the risk of breast cancer.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1965
Eli Lilly and Company
place made
United States: Indiana, Indianapolis
Physical Description
mestranol, 80 mcg (drug (white and peach tablets) active ingredients)
chlormadinone acetate, 2 mg (drug (peach tablets only) active ingredients)
cardboard (folder material)
plastic (blister pack material)
aluminum foil (blister pack material)
overall: .4 cm x 7.7 cm x 9.9 cm; 3/16 in x 3 1/16 in x 3 7/8 in
overall: 1/4 in x 3 in x 3 7/8 in; .635 cm x 7.62 cm x 9.8425 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Margaret Sanger Center
Birth Control/Contraception
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Birth Control
Health & Medicine
Data Source
National Museum of American History