Ovacon 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.
Syntex Laboratories of Palo Alto, California, produced this Ovacon brand oral contraceptive around 1988-2003. Ovacon was marketed as a “genuine low dose” pill containing .5 milligrams of norethindrone and .035 milligram of ethinyl estradiol. This sample of Ovacon is in a white cardboard envelope that contains one silver blister pack. The 28-pill blister pack contains 21 blue hormonal pills and 7 brown iron supplement pills arrayed in a switchback pattern with arrows directing the user in the correct order to take the medication. A white paper insert contains directions in both English and Arabic, and the bottom of the insert notes that Ovacon was “marketed and distributed by Family Planning Social Marketing Project of Dhaka, Bangladesh.”
Currently not on view
Object Name
contraceptive, oral
date made
before 1988-03
Syntex Laboratories
Physical Description
norethindrone, 0.5 mg (drug (blue tablet) active ingredients)
ferrous fumarate, 75 mg (drug (brown tablet) active ingredients)
foil (blister pack material)
paper (envelope material)
paper (leaflet material)
plastic (blister pack material)
ethinyl estradiol, 0.035 mg (drug (blue tablet) active ingredients)
overall: 9.4 cm x 6.4 cm x .3 cm; 3 11/16 in x 2 17/32 in x 1/8 in
overall: 2 1/2 in x 3 3/4 in x 1/4 in; 6.35 cm x 9.525 cm x .635 cm
place made
United States: California, Palo Alto
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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