Drugged by the name?

Very recently, I got a call from my spouse to pick up a particular drug before heading down home. I had it in memory. Just parked and went to my favorite shop and blurted a name.

His eyes opened up and asked me do you want it for sure sir? I said yes off course its an analgesic and he said no – it’s a drug for suppressing hunger!!! Where had I gone wrong? The funny alphabets in the names had a small missing ‘e’ and if I had not checked it out the results would have been bad to disastrous.

This got me thinking how these funny names are made. Research from many companies and clippings yeilded these details.

Primarily these drug runners (sorry there) use letters from X to Z. These seem to be popular as in Nexium, Clarinex, Celebrex, Xanax, Zyban and Zithromax. But why are these letters so popular?

One of the reasons is that these letters look good on printing, sound good when spoken and is associated with innovation!! Whew.

The character X is associated with science fiction, high tech, computers, automobiles and drugs. This is as in “X-Files”, “Xerox” and “Microsoft” X Box.

James L. Dettore, president of the Brand Institute, a branding company based in Miami that has tested 8,400 drug names in the last seven years (its successes include Lipitor, Clarinex, Sarafem and Allegra), said the letters X, Z, C and D, according to what he called “phonologics,” subliminally indicate that a drug is powerful.

The harder the tonality of the name, the more efficacious the product in the mind of the physician and the end user he claims.

Executives want something that will entice billions of dollars in sales. Customers want a hint of what it does. The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t want implied medical claims. And if it sounds too much like another drug, a pharmacist might accidentally kill the customer.

Here is how they name a drug in the US of A. This is only related to naming.

a) They First test up to 15 names for each client’s drug

b) Then checks data banks in about 40 countries to see whether the names are already copyrighted and to make sure they don’t mean anything misleading or vulgar in other languages.

c) There is focus groups talk about their feelings.

d) They recruit a test panel of doctors to scribble and phone prescriptions to a panel of pharmacists to see if confusion ensues.

e) Finally the best two names are submitted to F.D.A.

Drug companies clearly spend $500,000 on a name and packaging. The companies even register names before they have a drug to fit them. “There are about 12,000 drugs out there, and only so many Z’s and X’s to go around,” Professor Trombetta said. “The brand is thought up when it’s in the petri dish.”

Back home our own Cipla who does most of cut and paste of drug formula, renames for the correct mix and pitch. So it’s all in the name folks!

Atleast i dont relay any more on my memory but write it down alphabet by alphabet just like my 6 year old son.

Note: All brand names are owned by their respective owners! 🙂


8 Responses to Drugged by the name?

  1. Prashanth M says:

    Half a million to chose a name!!! huh

    ps: thanks for the blogroll

  2. Vijay says:

    Prashanth.. Wipro shelled out a lot of money for its logo and “Applying Thought” catch phrase..
    I remember NBC (the TV Channel in the US), paid big bucks for its phrase which was 2 words…
    Closer to me, a customer of mine in the US paid a “catch phrase” person $50,000 to come up with something for his company… his comment at the end was “My Grandma would have coined the same phrase for free”

  3. Vijay,
    Sen guptha charged that amount to wipro but premji is not a fool. He came out from the mind set that he was a hardware manufacturere to an IT gain using this logo plus his Quality Management System.

    It requires lot of creativity to imagine such a good rainbow flower.

  4. praneshachar says:

    yes mohan it is always better don’t rely on memory when it comes to buying drugs. very informative write up after lot of research and we all got a genesis of names of medicines and comments took us to name in corporate world
    good one thanks for post

  5. Praneshachar,
    Glad you liked it. Even though this data is NOT directly applicable to INDIA, it gives a hindesite into what goes behind the naming scenes.

  6. tuttotesti says:

    Thanks so very much for taking your time to create this very useful and informative site. I have learned a lot from your site. Thanks!!!

  7. M O H A N says:

    Glad you found it usefull. Do visit again. thanks.

  8. 60000071848cee89644cc96e69661905


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