Dr. Miles and Alka-Seltzer

The Dr. Miles Medical Company in Elkhart, Indiana, made a fortune selling the Dr. Miles’ Nervine, a patent medicine that calmed the nerves. Like most patent medicine companies, Dr. Miles marketed its medicines through pamphlets and almanacs. And like most patent medicines, Dr. Miles’ Nervine seemed to cure any ailment and to improve your general […]


Ciba Pharmaceuticals and Mid-Century Marketing

I know nothing about Ciba Pharmaceutical Products and had never heard of the company until I found this pamphlet in a box of old books. Apparently, Ciba Pharmaceuticals produced pamphlets on various topics related to pharmaceuticals and chemistry. This one contains a number of articles by William Jerome Wilson, who contributed to a number of […]

Press and Pop Culture

A Historical Perspective on DTC Drug Marketing

An article in the NY Times reports on a recent research about Direct-to-Consumer drug marketing. The article draws attention to authority and power of a “survey” in convincing consumers to self-diagnos and to request particular drugs. All this sounds a lot like the techniques used a century ago to market patent medicines. At that time […]