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March 18, 1961

Generic Names and Trade Names

Author Affiliations

1930 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles 57.

JAMA. 1961;175(11):1022-1023. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040110086030

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To the Editor:—  The letter, "Generic Names and Trade Names," from Dr. J. H. Walton, of Ciba Pharmaceutical Products, Inc., in The Journal, Nov. 12, 1960, page 1548, merits serious consideration. He does not seem to appreciate the therapeutic puzzles which confront practicing physicians. With more than 400 new products introduced each year, and perhaps 50 new chemicals, the practitioner is faced with a problem of magnificent proportions. Before long, a computer will be a requirement for every properly equipped consultation room.Dr. Walton urges the use of trade names. Trademark names, by their very nature, are different, and their use poses a variety of problems. Some drugs have 20 or more trade names. Phenethicillin, just made available, is disguised under 8 markedly different titles. This complexity is needless, unscientific, and harmful. Traditionally, generic names have been relied upon to identify drugs. Now, even this aid has been demolished, and

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