Why are medicine names so difficult?

Lopresor, Robijack, Elosprin, Clopigrel, Amlopin, Restyl

What are these? Names of some of the medicines which I noticed in my grand-mom’s medicine tray. Looking at this I was wondering – why are medicine names so difficult? Why are they not friendly names one can easily pronounce, write or even remember. Let’s look at the names of the very ordinary regular use medicines like Crocin, Becosule, Anacin. Maybe I am not the right person to understand the theory behind why these medicines are named such. Being somebody who comes from a marketing & advertising background I was thinking why these medical companies not keep names as simple as “BP Block” for something which controls blood pressure. “Nose Master” – for something which takes care of your nasal problems. When a FMCG company wants to name a product they typically follow a few thumb-rules:

  • Easy to pronounce
  • Easy to remember

Now how many of you will remember a name like Clopidogrel even ten minutes after reading this post. Besides difficult names also make it tough on a patient’s mind to re-collect the name easily when he/she may run out of the medicine and does not have access to the exact name of the medicine. If anybody out there reading this knows why medicine names are so difficult please share your thoughts.


2 thoughts on “Why are medicine names so difficult?

  1. Well, there are probably plenty reasons, but I can immediately come up with two: the name could be based upon ingredients; the name could be based upon some sort of Latin for either the ingredients, symptoms, or ailment; and, it could be made purposefully difficult to keep the proverbial wool over our eyes, and keep the expertise within the medicinal field.

  2. Besides (the point Wes makes), there a billion drugs out there, and a thousand for each disorder, giving simple names too all wud be too much expenditure towards a copywriter. also, i think probably the ingredient-based names help doctors remember the names and categorize the drugs properly. Also, most of these drugs are prescription drugs, so it doesnt matter if common customers can’t remember the name, whats important is that doctors do. Compare such drugs with things like D-cold, Iodex, Vicks – over the counter stuff for which u don’t need a prescription. Another reason cud be that having a simple name wud take out the complexity from the product. when u’ve had a heart transplant something called Cardiadinodelamine50 (not real) sounds more assuring than HappyHeart. the branding here, probably, is a diff ball game.

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