Despite the pervasiveness of drug advertisements, you might still be confused about whether a certain drug treats restless leg syndrome, erectile dysfunction, anxiety, or insomnia (or maybe all four?). Certain names, like Viagra, have gained enough cultural cachet to be widely recognized, but most, though familiar sounding, don't reveal their intended use.
According to The Merck Manuals, "When a drug is approved by the Food and Drug Administration ... it is given a generic (official) name and a trade (proprietary or brand) name. The trade name identifies it as the exclusive property of a particular company."
The United States Adopted Names (USAN) Council is responsible for selecting a drug's generic name and approving the drug's trade name, as proposed by the pharmaceutical company. Click below for insight into drug naming schemes, and a list of names currently under consideration (anyone for a little lebrilizumab?).
Photo: Cheap Pharmaceuticals in Cabo San Lucas by Nelson Minar.