Thursday, July 13, 2023

MY BRAIN ON DRUGS (REDUX) – A Little More Fun With "Pharmanyms"

This is an update of one of my most popular posts, originally published in 2015. Whole new list of drug names, both real and made up.

IMAGE: Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc.

If you’re one of the few folks still watching original, seen-when-aired TV—as opposed to streamed or some on-demand stuff where you can skip the commercials — then you’ve seen these incessant commercials for drugs. You can’t watch for ten minutes without seeing one.

Advertisers of everything from hair growers to testosterone boosters to toenail fungus fighters try to convince you, despite the long, speed-read list of sometimes dire side effects, to demand their potion from your doctor.

For starters, the insidiously oblique tactic of getting you to ask for something your doc may not know much more about than what the culprits themselves have told her seems like it should be illegal.

And, even if you’re not as cynical as I am, you’ve got to agree there’s something else that's just patently ludicrous about many of these ads: the brand names.

      I challenge you to tell me which are real 
      brands and which are the impostors.

PHOTO: NY Zoological Society
Does anyone else think, as I do, that you could sit a chimp down in front of a two- or three-column list of random syllables, train it to pick one from each column, and come up with a better name for an arthritis drug than Xeljanz?* C’mon!

Now, lest you think I’m just ranting—perhaps resentful that some branding hot shots out there are making a small fortune dreaming up these absurd monikers—here’s a little test.

Below is a list of 20 drug brands. (I’ve left out ones so pervasive, like Cialis or Prednisone, that they’ve muscled their way into the vernacular, and I've spared those which at least try to suggest what they do—like Flonase. )

Ten of the names are real—the result, one would assume, of exhaustive research, brainstorming and focus group testing.

The other ten are pure gibberish; I created them in about five minutes using the chimp method—randomly combining nonsense syllables from three columns. I challenge you to tell me which are real brands and which are the impostors. (Answers below)

  1. Delozca
  2. Lybalvi
  3. Steruvia
  4. Qulypta
  5. Ektravos
  6. Vabysmo
  7. Cydirna
  8. Farxiga
  9. Zufuima
10. Verzenio
11. Tarjavic
12. Xyfaxan
13. Quibala
14. Leqvio
15. Semplavid
16. Sotyktu
17. Belsuvu
18. Quviviq
19. Cymtavic
20. Ubrelvy

Absolutely insane, right? But then what would you expect from folks who think you’re dumb enough to want something called Revatio?** How about Dumrite? Ufelferit?

 * Xeljanz is a JAK inhibitor, claimed to disrupt the nerve pathways that lead to the inflammation
    associated with RA.
** Revatio, from Pfizer, is the same drug as Viagra, but marketed to treat hypertension (high blood

ANSWERS: Starting with number 2, every other brand is real. Starting with number 1, every other brand is fake.


Anonymous said...

Maybe they use monkeys to name their products.

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