Enovid 5 Milligram 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.
G.D. Searle and Company of Chicago, Illinois produced these Enovid 5-milligram capsules for the drug's clinical trials in the late1950s. The oral contraceptive was originally tested in a 10-milligram dose, but when many women experienced unpleasant side effects the dosage was dropped to 5-milligrams. This bottle of Enovid was donated to the Smithsonian by Mary Ann Johnson, a technician who worked in the Worcester Foundation of Experimental Biology where the birth control pill was developed.
Currently not on view
Object Name
pharmceutical, vial of
contraceptive, oral
date made
G. D. Searle and Company
Physical Description
Enovid, 5mg. (drug active ingredients)
polysorbate, 50mg. (drug active ingredients)
plastic (container material)
average spatial: 5.7 cm x 2.5 cm; 2 1/4 in x in
overall: 2 1/4 in x 1 1/8 in; 5.715 cm x 2.8575 cm
place made
United States: Illinois, Chicago
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
Additional Media

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