'Minovlar ED' combined monophasic contraceptive pills, 1970.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Two wallets, with pill packet and instruction booklet. Each packet contains 28 pills and is printed with the days of the week to make it easier to remember to take the pill. They were produced by Schering AG in Germany. Before the 1950s, contraceptive pills were too expensive to mas produce because the hormones they contain had to be prepared in the laboratory from animal tisue. It only became economic for pharmaceutical companies to produce them when chemists discovered cheaper sources of the hormones in plants. These were used to make synthetic hormones which could alter the female menstrual cycle, preventing pregnancy. 'The Pill' was launched in 1960, and became closely linked with changing sexual attitudes in the 'swinging sixties'.