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 Norquest-Fe brand oral contraceptive between 1989 and 2005. The cardboard box packaging has a photo-silhouette of a man and woman. The box contains one 28-pill blister pack with 21 white hormonal pills and 7 brown iron supplement pills. The package also contains a white insert with patient directions stating that Norquest was “ . . . specially imported in Bangladesh for distribution at a subsidized rate by Social Marketing Company (SMC).”
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