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May 13, 1961

Nonproprietary Nomenclature

Author Affiliations

Assistant to the Secretary, Council on Drugs, AMA, Chicago

JAMA. 1961;176(6):553. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040190075033

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To the Editor:—  Dr. Mauer in his letter to the editor (JAMA, March 18, 1961, p. 1022) states that the AMA Council on Drugs was relieved of the responsibility of coining nonproprietary names for drugs since 1955. This statement is erroneous.The Council has never discontinued its nonproprietary nomenclature program.In determining if a given nonproprietary name is appropriate the Council's general criteria are (1) absence of conflict with established nonproprietary and trade names; (2) indication of relationship to existing drugs (through use of similar prefixes or suffixes, e.g., sulfa-, -thiazide); and (3) the accessibility of the name to physicians, i.e., having them short, euphonious, etc. The Council believes that the coining of nonproprietary names should not be based solely on any one of these principles.

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