Sample packs of 'Ovulen' oral contraceptive pills

1966-1968 in Chicago
G D Searle and Company
G D Searle and Company Limited

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Collection of early contraceptive pills, various manufacturers, 1960-1980, with associated printed ephemera Clockwise
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Practitioner's sample packs, 2 of 3, each containing 2 pill packets of combined monophasic early contraceptive pills, 'Ovulen', varying dates, made by G D Searle and Co, Chicago, Illinois, USA, and prepared by G D Searle & Company Limited, High Wycombe, England, 1966-1968

Blister packs reminded women when to take the pill. Manufacturers designed special packaging such as this soon after the oral contraceptive pill was launched in the 1960s. Monophasic pills such as this packet of Ovulen (shown open on the top right) are taken for 21 days, at the same time each day, with a week in between packets. The pill suppresses ovulation, which is the release of eggs into the womb. They also make it difficult for sperm to reach an egg, or for an egg to implant itself in the lining of the womb.

Product-maker Searle also made ‘Enovid’, the first oral contraceptive approved for use in the United Kingdom in 1961. The pills are shown with other oral contraceptives.


Obstetrics, Gynaecology & Contraception
Object Number:
cardboard, materia medica and plastic (unidentified)
  • furnishing and equipment
  • container - receptacle
  • drug
  • tablet
  • drug
Donated by the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, Contemporary Medical Archive Centre

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