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Oral Contraceptives (Family Planning Pills)

Oral Contraceptives (Family Planning Pills)

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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.
Wyeth Laboratories of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, manufactured these oral contraceptives during the late 20th century. The logo of the “blue lady” taking her pill adorned all U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) oral contraceptive packages that were distributed to worldwide family planning programs. Compared to other oral contraceptives of the time, these USAID pills are packaged very simply, lacking any kind of discreet container or memory aid. The "blue lady" packaging was introduced in the late 1960s in order to standardize packaging, provide three months supply in one package, and to provide adequate protection for the pills in tropical conditions. This packet contains three cycles of 28 pills, with 21 white hormonal tablets and 7 tablets of iron supplements.
Currently not on view
Object Name
contraceptive, oral
Wyeth Laboratories
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Physical Description
norgestrel, 0.5 mg. (drug active ingredients)
ethinyl estradiol, 0.05 mg. (drug active ingredients)
ferrous fumarate, 75 mg. (drug active ingredients)
overall: 13.1 cm x 16.4 cm x 1 cm; 5 5/32 in x 6 15/32 in x 13/32 in
overall: 5 1/8 in x 6 3/8 in x 3/8 in; 13.0175 cm x 16.1925 cm x.9525 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Margaret Sanger Center
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
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