Demulen Oral Contraceptive

Demulen Oral Contraceptive

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
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.
Searle & Company produced this Demulen brand oral contraceptive in San Juan, Puerot Rico, around 1975. Searle was the first company to manufacture birth control pills. The Demulen pills came in a yellow plastic compact case. Inside the compact is a 21-pill blister pack that organizes the monthly pill regimen into weekly rows, labeled by day of the week. The starter kit includes a prescription blank and a paper insert with directions for use for the patient, as well as a promotional booklet for “the Pill.”
Currently not on view
Object Name
contraceptive, oral
date made
ca 1975
G. D. Searle and Company
place made
Puerto Rico: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Physical Description
ethynodiol diacetate, 1 mg (drug active ingredients)
ethinyl estradiol,.05 mg (drug active ingredients)
overall: 18.7 cm x 11.2 cm x 1 cm; 7 3/8 in x 4 7/16 in x 3/8 in
overall: 3/4 in x 4 1/2 in x 7 1/2 in; 1.905 cm x 11.43 cm x 19.05 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Gladys Abell and Lester D. Johnson, Jr., M.D.
Birth Control/Contraception
Women's Health
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Birth Control
Health & Medicine
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object