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Developing drug names like Lipitor and Lunesta is fun and creative

By Monika Wahi | June 2012
Examiner.com



Naming drugs is “fun and creative”, according to Maureen Krajeski, Director of Brand Development for Brand Institute, Inc., whose company exhibited at the BIO National Convention (known as BIO 2012) at the Boston Convention Center June 20. Brand Institute “provides a robust portfolio of brand strategy/architecture, naming, research, regulatory and design services” for more than just the pharmaceutical industry. But much of Brand Institute’s popularity has come from famous names they have developed for prescription drugs.

Although Brand Institute is famous for naming Lipitor, the organization offers services to other industries as well. Although Brand Institute is famous for naming Lipitor, the organization offers services to other industries as well.

Krajeski explained that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has extensive regulations about how prescription drugs are named, and that “regulations dictate the beginning and the end of a prescription drug name, but there is play in the middle.” It is that “play” that Brand Institute works with to develop attractive, marketable names for prescription drugs.

Brand Institute named two popular drugs: Lipitor and Lunesta. Some prescription drug names, such as Lipitor, are combinations of words associated with the drug’s function. Lipitor takes the word “lipid”, the target of the drug, and combines that with “tor” from “atorvastatin”, the trade name for the drug. Others, like Lunesta, combine words that refer to aspects of the drug; Lunesta is to help sleep, and plays on the word “lunar”.

Brand Institute combines expertise from multiple disciplines, and has developed a well-honed process of helping the pharmaceutical industry not only develop prescription drug names, but have them approved in the most timely fashion as possible. The FDA rules are complicated, Krajeski explained, and having experts who have worked for the FDA and other regulatory agencies is extremely helpful in making sure drug names developed fit with regulations.

You Can Listen to NPR interview here

 
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