Friday, March 8th, 2019
3:30 – 4:30 pm /Old Music Hall 103
Do you ever wonder how drugs get named? In the United States, it is done by the United States Adopted Names (USAN) Program, which has been naming drugs for decades. The generic name for a drug, also called the nonproprietary name, differs from a trade name (or brand name) for a drug in some important ways. First, unlike a trade name anyone can use a generic name on drug labels, in advertisements, in packaging, and in publications. Second, the generic name is the same for an active ingredient in every country, in every formulation, and for every firm that markets the drug. Because the name is always the same for a specific substance, this can help facilitate communications and safe medication use among physicians, patients, pharmacists and others. In coming up with drug names, patient safety is always our most important goal, but we also work to choose names that are euphonious, memorable, acceptable to the firm developing the drug, and that reflect the drug’s chemical structure, action and planned uses. We must weigh the needs of everyone who will use this name and scientific considerations. All this happens while conducting complex multi-party negotiations involving the company developing the drug, our Council, the FDA, and our nomenclature colleagues outside the US.