This WWII Penicillin box is is a reproduction of the box in the collection of the Norwegian Pharmacy Museum.
During WWII, penicillin was used to treat surgical and wound infections. It also became the primary method of treating syphilis.
While Penicillin was officially discovered as early as 1928, its first use on humans dates to February of 1941 at Oxford University in England. Although British pharmaceutical companies began industrial production, the war effort made mass production and distribution difficult.
In the United States, by 1943, Merck, Squibb, and Pfizer, along with 21 other companies chosen by the War Production Board had discovered ways to scale production in an effort to build up enough penicillin for D-day.
Initially penicillin was restricted for military use. However, by 1945, over 6 trillion units were being produced. In March of 1945, penicillin was available in most pharmacies in the US. England waited until after the war. British penicillin was available June 1, 1946.