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Naming Drugs And Medical Devices Is An Art



Naming drugs and medical devices is an art form that requires creativity, knowledge of linguistics, and an understanding of how to navigate the regulatory landscape. It’s easy to think of names, but coming up with ones that are meaningful and memorable, yet different enough than anything currently on the market, is another story.

The International Business Times recently wrote about the process of naming drugs; here are a couple interesting tidbits from the article. 

There were 126,000 cases of medication error between 2000 and 2009 in the U.S. and 8 to 25 percent of those errors were said to be caused by drugs sounding too much alike. Roughly 10,000 patients were injured per year as a result.

Many companies that used to complete this exercise in-house now hire consultants and branding experts to find one. The entire process may cost companies between $250,000 to $500,000.

Developing brand names for medicines is a careful dance between marketing experts and scrutinizers at the FDA, who reject about four out of 10 proposed brand names for new drugs.     

Companies may submit up to two potential names to the FDA for consideration.

Only about half the states require doctors to type up a prescription rather than write it out by hand.

The FDA’s Division of Medication Error Prevention and Analysis compares and contrasts the way drug names appear when written by hand to make sure an “i” that turns into an “l” or an “a” which becomes an “o” can’t fundamentally alter the meaning of the prescription.

To read the full article, click here.

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Eugene Sefanov

Director, Industry and Regional Marketing

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