Chinese Polypharmacy Norgestrel Oral Contraceptives

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.
The Beijing Pharmaceutical Factory in Beijing, China, produced these oral contraceptive pills around 1988. The 22 blue pills are in a silver blister pack. Manufacturers that used 22 pills did so because they thought that it was easier to remember to take the first pill next week on the same day as your last pill the week before. These pills include a comprehensive pamphlet detailing directions for use.
Currently not on view
Object Name
oral contraceptives
contraceptive, oral
date made
Physical Description
foil (blister pack material)
plastic (blister pack material)
paper (leaflet material)
norethisterone (drug active ingredients)
overall: 11 cm x 3.6 cm x .4 cm; 4 5/16 in x 1 7/16 in x 3/16 in
overall, pill pack: 1 3/8 in x 4 1/4 in x 1/8 in; 3.4925 cm x 10.795 cm x .3175 cm
overall, instruction sheet: 6 1/2 in x 4 3/4 in; 16.51 cm x 12.065 cm
place made
Zhonghua: Beijing Shi, Beijing
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 Kiehl's Inc.
Additional Media

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