Ortho-Novum 7/7/7 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 Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation of Raritan, New Jersey, produced this Ortho-Novum 7/7/7 oral contraceptive around 1984. The pills are contained in a peach and white plastic compact. There is a black arrow in the center that points to the various days of the week around the wheel. This allowed the user to set the day of her first pill and track her daily use from there. The prescription includes directions for use. The 7/7/7 in the brand name referred to the three weeks of taking active pills. Each week consisted of varying doses of norethindrone and ethinyl estradiol, followed by seven inert pills to finish the 28 pill cycle. Each week of pills is differentiated by color.
Currently not on view
Object Name
contraceptive, oral
date made
ca 1984
Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation
Physical Description
norethindrone, 0.5 mg (drug (white tablet) active ingredients)
norethindrone, 0.75 mg (drug (light peach tablet) active ingredients)
norethindrone, 1 mg (drug (peach tablet) active ingredients)
ethinyl estradiol, 0.035 mg (drug active ingredients)
plastic (packaging material)
foil (packaging material)
paper (insert material)
overall: 9.3 cm x 8.6 cm x 1.3 cm; 3 11/16 in x 3 3/8 in x 1/2 in
overall: 5/8 in x 3 3/8 in x 3 5/8 in; 1.5875 cm x 8.5725 cm x 9.2075 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog 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

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.