alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.

To the Highest Bidder: Elvis Presley's Pill Bottles Go Up for Auction

The King of Rock and Roll’s empty pill bottles, which contained Parafon Forte and Trisoralen, will be sold at auction in New York on May 16.

“Some years ago, we sold the first Elvis pill bottle that a lady found in the trash at Graceland for a considerable amount of money and we started to realize there was a market for this type of thing,” Darren Julien, from Julien’s Auctions, told the Daily Mail



The bottle of Parafon Forte, a muscle relaxer Presley took to relieve severe muscle spasms, was the last to be prescribed to Presley, the day before his death on August 16, 1977. The bottle was removed from Presley’s bedroom after his death and ended up at the Elvis-A-Rama Museum in Las Vegas before it was sold to a collector.

The other piece of Elvis medical memorabilia is an empty vial that contained Trisoralen, asynthetic melanizing agent he used to enhance his tan. It was discovered by the wife of Presley’s cousin and later sold to a collector in 2002.

The star’s official cause of death was “fatal heart arrhythmia,” or a heart attack, but many at the time were convinced this was a cover up for the true cause of death—a drug overdose—after a postmortem examination revealed significant amounts of 14 different drugs in his system at the time of his death. However, no conclusive determination was ever declared.

Presley’s appetite for prescription drugs was no secret, leading fans to believe it was Presley’s personal doctor, Dr. George Nichopoulos, who was responsible for his death. Nichopoulos prescribed more than 10,000 doses of sedatives, amphetamines, and narcotics in Elvis’s name in the first eight months of 1977 alone.

“Elvis’s problem was that he didn’t see the wrong in it,” he told the Guardian in 2002. “He felt that by getting it from a doctor, he wasn’t the common everyday junkie getting something off the street. He was a person who thought that as far as medications and drugs went, there was something for everything.”

Nichopoulos, whose license was revoked in the 1990s, has maintained his innocence over the years.

“These items are quite poignant and significant because it was his addiction to these pills that led to his downfall and death. They played a part in both his life and death,” Julien said. “It may seem a little macabre but anything touched or used by a rock icon like Elvis is desirable to fans.”

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close