Enovid 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.
The G. D. Searle Company of Chicago, Illinois, produced these Enovid 5-milligram tablets 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. Before the introduction of "memory aid" packaging, Enovid was dispensed in 20 tablet vials. This sample was donated to the Smithsonian by the Margaret Sanger Center of New York City.
Currently on loan
Object Name
pharmaceutical, vial of
contraceptive, oral
date made
G. D. Searle and Company
Physical Description
norethynodrel, 5 mg (drug active ingredients)
mestranol, 0.075 mg (drug active ingredients)
average spatial: 5.5 cm x 2.3 cm; 2 3/16 in x 7/8 in
overall: 2 1/8 in x 7/8 in; 5.3975 cm x 2.2225 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
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