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July 29, 1974

Standardization of Drug Names

Author Affiliations

Chairman Emeritus, Medical Department, Lahey Clinic, Boston.

JAMA. 1974;229(5):541-543. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230430033022

The use of multiple names for the same medicinal agent is confusing to physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and students. Products that appear to be entirely different may possess the same active ingredients. There may be hazard to patients; an individual allergic to a drug may inadvertently receive it when it is disguised under an unfamiliar name.

Legislation has been enacted or is under consideration in the US Congress and other legislative bodies to abolish proprietary names for drugs and to require the use of a single official name for each drug product. The objectives are to minimize confusion, to guard against risks, and to reduce costs.

(JAMA 229:541-543, 1974)