Thursday, 24 October 2013


Former pharma: Dr Williams’ Pink Pills


Here we are in 1946, three years after penicillin was introduced, and popular magazines are still running advertisements for Dr Williams’ Pink pills “to build up the blood, enriching and purifying it” – adverts that first appeared in Victorian times. This sample is from that magnificent publication Family Star (“You’ll enjoy – Married to a Glamour Girl” – long chapter inside”), price twopence.

Dr Williams’ miraculous pInk pills first appeared as far back as the 1850s, and were originally known as Pink Pills for Pale People. Originating in Canada, they arrived in Britain in 1893. In their long history these glorified iron supplements were marketed for everything from lumbago to palpitations, paralysis to headache, sallow complexion to “all forms of weakness in male or female.”

But in 1946, Dr Williams was concerned about all that worry readers of Family Star suffered reading those tense romantic stories.

“The new rich blood which these pills help to create supplies to the starved nerves just the elements they need. In this way these pills have banished nervous trouble in many thousands of cases.”