When pharmaceutical companies are putting together those long lists of potential side effects of their drugs, I wish they'd consider adding a warning that simple exposure to certain brand names can potentially send some 11-year-olds into prolonged fits of the giggles.
I have trouble with reflux, so my doctor put me on AciPhex. It's a good drug. Does the trick. But come on - didn't anyone in the pharmaceutical company's trade name department bother to sound out the name before moving forward? It sounds like a category at the Oscars of Porn ("And the award for Best AciPhex goes to ...").
I could understand if AciPhex were the brand name chosen for the evil drug that patients are forced to ingest the night before a colonoscopy, but according to the Stanford Medicine Magazine, "The FDA prohibits trade names associated with the product's intended use and will not approve names that imply efficacy."
So if I'm translating that right, trade names can't imply any kind of a promise. They must be a meaningless, made-up word that's still powerful enough to entice people into hurrying to their doctor to ask if this medication is right for them.
But those in charge of choosing drug names clearly know what they're doing. They understand how words and languages work and recognize the prefixes and stems they have to avoid (like "brev," "vel," "mal" or "mor") because those imply other things (brevity, velocity, bad and death).
According to Bill Trombetta, professor of pharmaceutical marketing at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, the average cost of developing a new drug trade name is between $500,000 and $2.5 million, on average. Since the FDA rejects about one-third of all proposed trade names, Big Pharma takes much into consideration before selecting a name. (Apparently, sounding the drug name out loud isn't one of those things.)
Drug companies understand the way customers think when they're in pain or depressed or fighting a chronic condition, how they'll cling to the vaguest of promises, so they work hard to find a name that hints at what the consumer will get by taking their drug. Consider names like Wellbutrin (If I take this, I'll be well!) and Claritin (Hey, I'll bet that will make my sinuses clear! I don't know why I think that, but ...).
I'm not saying these medicines don't do exactly what they're saying they do, but the names hint at effectiveness in a sneaky, sort of backhanded way.