Why, exactly, does this scarab say 'Isordil'?
January 7, 2016 10:00 AM   Subscribe

This scarab has been in my family's house for as long as I can remember, and was apparently a gift to my grandparents, who were amateur entomologists. As far as that goes, it makes sense. I haven't been able to figure out why it has 'isordil' on the front, though - google gives me angina medication exclusively. I'd love to hear any ideas!
posted by sagc to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The boring answer is that it could have been a marketing tchotchke for the brand name drug, Isordil. Like a paperweight to sit on a doctor's desk or something.
posted by sparklemotion at 10:14 AM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Any guesses as to when it was a gift to your grandparents? Would be interesting to compare to the drug patent date - a quick search gave me 1988, and it sounds like you've had it longer than that, which would imply that it's unrelated. But I don't know if that's the original patent or a renewal, and maybe I'm making assumptions about how long you can remember.
posted by aimedwander at 10:30 AM on January 7, 2016

I'm not an expert in any of this, but I thought it interesting that, of the 3 types of funerary scarabs mentioned in Wikipedia, this one is most similar to a "heart scarab". This may be relevant, considering Isordil's indication.
posted by mean square error at 10:52 AM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Isordil might have a patent from the 80s but isosorbide dinitrate was definitely being synthesized in the US in the 1950s and was in fairly common use in the 1960s. Couldn't find a good source on the brand name's exact history but if mean square error is on the right track with the heart thing it would make sense as a pharma tchotchke.
posted by Wretch729 at 11:14 AM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Definitely looks like something a drug rep would pass out. Possibly as part of a marketing campaign that had some sort of Egyptian theme or at a meeting or event with such a theme. In the 80's and 90's drug marketing got pretty elaborate and even now a major meeting has all sorts of swag to be had at various exhibitor booths. I have known drug reps that had to rent storage units for all the free pens, notepads, etc. that they accumulated faster than they could pass out, so even if your grandparents weren't medical doctors, someone they know could have given it to them just to get rid of it.
posted by TedW at 11:19 AM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I looked up the drug and I think Wyeth is one of the manufacturers so I Googled "wyeth scarab" and if you scroll down there is a very similar thing but it is a sphinx (right term?) but very similar and has the same bottom. I couldn't get to the website without signing up for something at a site called studyblue. so I don't know the origin yet. here is a link to the Google preview - don't know if this link works but you could Google wyeth scarab

posted by cda at 2:34 PM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

It might be worthwhile to ask over at cafepharma - it's a forum for drug reps and while they generally don't stay in one position a long time, one from that company might know more.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 2:53 PM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Here's an ebay listing for one of your scarab's cousins, a promoter of Segontin. I guess that's how you sell heart meds.
posted by bethnull at 3:28 PM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone! That is... Slightly more mundane than I had hoped for, but certainly fascinating to know.
posted by sagc at 6:23 PM on January 7, 2016

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