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October 20, 1945

Current Comment

JAMA. 1945;129(8):554. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860420022013

WHY TRADE NAMES FOR ANTIBIOTICS?  Pharmaceutic manufacturers of the United States made remarkable contributions to the war effort. Outstanding was the production and distribution of penicillin, which saved more lives than can probably ever be estimated. Now some manufacturers, perhaps overly alert to the drive for prestige and profits in the postwar period, seem ready to abandon cooperation and rational therapeutics. At least four firms are actively marketing or planning to market antibiotic preparations such as penicillin and tyrothricin under special trade names. These agents are among the most active and useful compounds that have ever been developed. Some of their usefulness will be lost by confusing their identity. The phenomenal success of sulfonamide therapy in the United States has been partly due to willingness to make these compounds available under nonproprietary names. When a physician prescribes sulfanilamide, sulfathiazole, sulfadiazine or any other sulfonamide he knows exactly what he is