Ortho-Novum SQ 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 Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation of Raritan, New Jersey, produced this Ortho-Novum SQ brand oral contraceptive around 1965. Ortho was the first company to dispense its contraceptives in “compliance packaging.” Packaging such as this DialPak helped patients comply with their doctor’s order to take their pill daily, and advertised itself as “the package that remembers for her.” When the user turned the dial to dispense their next pill, the wheel in the center would display the day of the week, allowing the her to see if she had taken her pill that day. This regimen contained 14 white and 6 blue pills that had to be taken in order to be effective. The back of the DialPak contains instructions on how to use the DialPak.
Currently not on view
Object Name
contraceptive, oral
date made
ca 1970
Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation
Physical Description
norethindrone, 2 mg (drug active ingredients)
mestranol, 0.08 mg (drug active ingredients)
plastic (packaging material)
overall: 7.5 cm x 6.5 cm x .8 cm; 2 15/16 in x 2 9/16 in x 5/16 in
overall: 3/8 in x 2 5/8 in x 3 in; .9525 cm x 6.6675 cm x 7.62 cm
place made
United States: New Jersey, Raritan
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
Credit Line
Gift of Gladys Abell and Lester D. Johnson, Jr., M.D.
Additional Media

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