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March 12, 1960


Author Affiliations

American Association for the Advancement of Science Hamilton Hall Ohio State University Columbus 10, Ohio.

JAMA. 1960;172(11):1197. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020110081024

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To the Editor:—  The question of drug names is rapidly becoming a matter of international importance. As it stands now, there is international uniformity with respect to the systematic chemical name for new chemical compounds that may be introduced as drugs. These chemical names are thoroughly systematized and carry real structural meaning to chemists. On the other hand, to members of the health professions these chemical names are practically meaningless. Accordingly, relatively simple names for general public use have to be devised, and these are referred to as either "official," "generic," or "public." In addition, there are trade names, which are the legal property of the company exploiting the drug. Unfortunately, the public names for drugs vary in different countries. Sometimes this is due to trade name factors. Thus, the name adrenaline is a "public name" in Britain, but "Adrenalin" is a trade name in the United States. Accordingly, the

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