Developing a drug takes many years and cost hundreds of millions of euros. The name of that product should sound like a clock. Names of drugs were traditionally designed for doctors who prescribed the drugs and sounded scientific. Nowadays names of medicines increasingly patient-centered and abstract sound like PROZAC (fluoxetine , Eli Lilly) for depression and VIAGRA (sildenafil , Pfizer) in erectile dysfunction. But how do drugs get their name? What are the criteria for a good name?
The more than century-old brand name Aspirin® (Bayer), originally in German called ‘Aspirin’ is derived from ‘Spirsäure’. This is an old German name for salicylic acid with the prefix A that is because it was acetylated acetyl salicylic acid. Merged and shortens it was “Aspirin”. The generic name of Aspirin® is acetylsalicylic acid.
Pharmaceutical companies focus on developing a global brand for a drug. The same brand worldwide reflects the global health care: people are traveling to different countries, and it is practical if the drug has the same name abroad. One global name facilitates communication, including the Internet, and gives a stronger brand than when using a different name for the same drug in different countries. The brand name guarantees the constant quality of the product made ??by the manufacturer and gets more goodwill as the brand gets more well known.
Investing in a successful brand is worthwhile because the trademark right is infinite as long as the trademark registrations are renewed and the brand name is properly used. After the expiration of the patent after 20 years, the brand will have to compete with cheaper generic medicines.
Developing a global brand name for a drug is not easy and takes time and preparation. Legal availability of the brand in many countries is just one of the many conditions that the name must conform. Health authorities must first approve the brand before the product may be sold.
The criteria used by the health authorities in order to determine if a brand name is safe for patients are wider than the criterion of legal likelihood of confusion. The brand names are tested by the manufacturer for safety before the names are submitted for approval to the health authorities. Nevertheless, 50% of the submitted registered trademarks are disapproved by the health authorities. Having back-up marks, is therefore necessary.