Last updated on: 4/4/2014 | Author: ProCon.org

Drug Ads Gallery

From the direct-to-consumer prescription drug print ads such as those for Viagra (2010) and Latisse (2009), to early unregulated drug ads for Hamlin’s Wizard Oil (1890) and Bonnores Electro Magnetic Bathing Fluid (1881), the galleries below illustrate more than 150 years of American print drug advertising. 

A history of drug advertising may be found in our “History of Prescription Drugs.” Prescriptions for any drugs were not required until 1951 with the Durham-Humphrey Amendments to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act so some ads printed earlier than 1951 are for drugs that may require a prescription now (for example, Smith Bros. Cough Drops, 1914) or would be outlawed for ingredients like cocaine and heroin (for example, Bayer Heroin Hydrochoride, 1901).

For information about and ads for drugs removed from the market, see our “35 Prescription Drugs Pulled from the Market” page.

  • Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup, 1800s
  • Minard’s Linament, 1860
  • Allan’s Anti-Fat, 1878
  • Bonnores Electro Magnetic Bathing Fluid, 1881
  • Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound, 1882
  • Baldwin’s Nervous Pills, 1883
  • Coca Cola, 1886
  • Dr. Seth Arnold’s Cough Killer, late 1880s
  • Hamlin’s Wizard Oil, 1890
  • Dr. J Collis Browne’s Chlorodyne, 1891
  • and more
  • Good Purifier Treatment for Cancer, early 1900s
  • Vin Mariani French Tonic Wine, 1900s
  • Bayer Heroin Hydrochloride, 1901
  • Anheuser Busch Malt Tonic, 1905
  • Krauses Phosphorets, 1906
  • Bromo Seltzer, 1908
  • Smith Bros. Cough Drops, 1914
  • Spearmint Pepsin Gum, 1914
  • Pabst Extract Tonic, 1915
  • Scott’s Emulsion, 1916
  • Anheuser Busch Malt Tonic, 1918
  • Dr. Caldwell’a Syrup Pepsin, 1923
  • Cold & Grippe Tablets, 1927
  • Nozol, 1927
  • Aspironal, 1928
  • Bulgarian Herb Tea, 1928
  • Ayer Laboratories Cherry Pectoral, 1929
  • Cosadein Cough Syrup, 1935
  • Neocaine, 1935
  • Nupercainal, 1935
  • Coramine, 1937
  • Spinocain, 1937
  • Ether, 1938
  • Pantopon, 1940
  • Daisy, 1941
  • Ether, 1941
  • Novocain, 1941
  • Benzadrine, 1943
  • Ethicon, 1943
  • Nupercainal, 1943
  • Phenobarbital, 1943
  • Nalline, 1944
  • Sodium Pentobarbital, 1945
  • and more
  • Pacatal, 1950s
  • Bentyl, 1952
  • Premarin, 1954
  • Thorazine, 1954
  • Xylocaine, 1954
  • Nembutal, 1955
  • Bufferin, 1956
  • Butisol, 1956
  • Dexedrine, 1956
  • Ritalin, 1956
  • and more
  • Akineton, 1960
  • Cogentin, 1960
  • Deaner, 1960
  • Marplan, 1960
  • Prozine, 1960
  • Stelazine, 1960
  • Distaval, 1961
  • Equanil, 1961
  • Nardil, 1961
  • Thorazine, 1962
  • and more
  • Artane, 1970
  • Atarax, 1970
  • Ritalin, 1970
  • Triavil, 1970
  • Valium, 1970
  • Quaalude, 1971
  • Cogentin, 1972
  • Prolixin, 1973
  • Stelazine, 1973
  • Akineton, 1974
  • and more
  • Mellaril, 1980
  • Prolixin, 1980
  • Mellaril, 1983
  • Asendin, 1984
  • Symmetrel, 1986
  • Ritalin, 1988
  • and more
  • Stelazine, 1990
  • Prozac, 1994
  • Cylert, 1996
  • Cipramil, 2001
  • Zyprexa, 2002
  • Methylin, 2006
  • Invega, 2007
  • Provigil Modafinil, 2007
  • Seroquel, 2007
  • Shire US, 2007
  • Zeldox, 2007
  • Risperdal, 2008
  • Latisse, 2009
  • and more
  • Viagra, 2010
  • Lipitor, 2011
  • Nexium, 2011

Sources: 

Institute for Nearly Genuine Research, “The Nearly Genuine and Truly Marvelous Psychoneuropharmacological Mental Medicine Show,” www.bonkersinstitute.org (accessed Mar. 24, 2014)

Kerry McQueeney, “Cocaine for Toothache, Morphine for Your Child’s Cough: The Bizarre ‘Safe Cures’ of 19th Century That ‘Work Like Magic’,” www.dailymail.co.uk, Sep. 5, 2012

Paula Zargaj-Reynolds, “Found in Mom’s Basement,” www.pzrservices.com (accessed Mar. 24, 2014) stylishnoodle, “Vintage Pharmaceutical Ads (Found Online),” www.flickr.com (accessed Mar. 24, 2014)

stylishnoodle, “Vintage Medical Ads (Found Online) – Set II,” www.flickr.com (accessed Mar. 24, 2014)

Vintage Ad Browser, “Medicine,” www.vintageadbrowser.com (accessed Mar. 24, 2014)