image_PERsrrz.jpegHave you ever wondered where drug companies get the names for their prescription drugs? I suppose many of you think they derive them from the chemical compounds that make up the product. The rest of you probably think that the companies just make them up. What you do not know is that there is a whole science surrounding the naming of drugs. This science has more to do with the marketing of the drug in question than an attempt to explain the nature of the drug.

Prescription drugs have at least 3 names: the actual chemical name, a proprietary name, and a brand name. It is the brand name that most patients are familiar with, but where does it come from and how was it derived. The truth is most of the brand names today are pumped out by a random name generator. This is a computer program that will put out names based on certain pre-selected criteria.

What I find most interesting is that marketing science tells us that patients feel that drugs which end in the last letters of the alphabet are considered stronger and more potent, for example Zithromax must be much more potent then Ampicillin. It is also true that drugs that contain letters from the end of the alphabet are viewed as stronger, for example Lasix and Bumex.

I do not know if this form of marketing holds true for other situations but I guess, in the end, I am glad I am Dr. Zlupko.