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June 10, 1939

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

JAMA. 1939;112(23):2423. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.02800230047017

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Abstract

Ask the advertiser—he knows! The scientific discoverer who is not primarily interested in advertising sometimes finds a name for his discovery that packs an unintended punch. Indeed, the genius who invents a substance sometimes is more baffled by the problem of inventing a name than by the intricacies of discovery. For substances with therapeutic actions, a name that designates this action or use seems to be a convenient short cut out of the difficulty. Unfortunately this path has been taken by nostrum makers and quacks so long and so often that it has become a highway of quackery. The inventor who takes this path may come to be classed with the company that he keeps. The intention may be different, but the effects do not depend on the intentions. "Pink Pills for Pale People" is more obvious to people than "Hematogen," but only for a while. Certainly doctors soon realize

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