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.
Parke-Davis and Company of Detroit, Michigan, produced this Loestrin 21 1.5/30 brand oral contraceptive around 1974. The packaging of the Loestrin features a photograph of a young woman. To maintain the routine of taking a daily pill, many manufacturers began including a fourth week of pills that were supplements or inert. This Loestrin regimen contains 28 pills, including 7 tablets that were iron supplements. Included is a packet entitled “What you should know about ‘the pill.’” The pills came in a white plastic compact case decorated with a raised floral design.