After a recent post on Jezebel about the humorous implications in the name of the acid reflux drug Aciphex (say it out loud: Aciphex = "ass effects"), I got to thinking about the names companies give drugs. I never noticed the funny connotation in this name, in all the years I worked in a pharmacy. Probably because I knew they were probably going for a subliminal message of "acid fix". Which tends to be the way marketing operates for prescription drugs.
As far as I know, there aren't any laws governing how companies name their medications, aside from avoiding violation of the copyrights of others. Why not go back to the old-timey method of naming them? We could have things like "Eli Lilly's Little Water Pills", "Roche's Super Pain Pills", "Pfizer's Purple Sugar Pills". Heck, start using old-school looking fonts and labels! Retro is in!
The fact is, a good number of the people taking medications label their meds this way. They come into the pharmacy and ask the person at the counter for a refill of their "water/sugar/pain/anxiety/etc." pill. "You know, the green one!" They don't know the name, they know what it does and usually what it looks like. Most current branding efforts are in vain. Why not cash in on the natural tendency?
Drug companies could build brand loyalty and keep consumer confusion to a minimum. The patient can rest easy, knowing what each medication does and who makes it. And wouldn't the companies rather the customer know and trust the name of the manufacturer than that of one product in a wide array? Patients would know exactly which pill they were taking and why. And if someone (the doctor, the pharmacist, the insurance company) dared to blaspheme and substitute a generic, the patient could demand that no, he wants his BMS's White Sugar Pill! What's this beige one? "Metformin"? What'n the heck is that? The name doesn't even tell you what it is! Who makes it? How can he trust them when they won't even put their name on the product?
Pharmaceutical manufacturers: I take paypal.