In the 1970s and 1980s, the little rounded atomizers of Neo-Synephrine were ubiquitous in medicine cabinets, a bulbous white bottle with a colored top, in either blue or green. I think, and perhaps this is just a false memory, though it really does not matter, that Mrs. Nold, my first grade teacher, tended to have one around in our classroom at Norfolk Academy.
The product came to market in January 1943, trademarked by the Detroit company Frederick Stearns & Company. Neo-Synephrine was an overnight success; over the years it actually became a sort of addition. The reason? It works so well to clear up nasal packages that users sometimes get addicted to it; when they quit after the nasal blockage, they find that the nose likes the clear passage much better. For some reason, many pronounced it Neo-Syn-effer-in, and I am not sure why.
For decades, advertisements showed the little bottles, which sort of blew up and contracted as if to show the power of squeezing them.
Over the years, the brand has seen a half dozen owners including Winthrop, Sterling, Winthrop-Sterling, Sipco, Miles, Bayer and now Foundation Consumer Healthcare LLC. Foundation, formed in 2014, owns other orphan drugs including St. Joseph Aspirin and Bronkaid. Yes, Bronkaid, that of the Walter Cronkite CBS Evening News Bronkaid!
Foundation Consumer Healthcare was formed in 2014 by executive Greg Bradley from the firm Advantage Consumer Marketing. Bradley, a former exec at Glaxo Smith Klein, and his team are experts in turning prescription products into over the counter products. Pictured here, a 2016 Foundation Consumer Healthcare ad for the product in a newspaper coupon supplement.
Unfortunately, the new bottles do not have the round design with the colored, beveled top.