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July 29, 1974

Standardization of Drug Names

Author Affiliations

Department of Drugs

JAMA. 1974;229(5):559-560. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230430051029

At the beginning of his article, Dr. Allan appears to support Senator Nelson's bill, S. 2633, the purpose of which is to prohibit the use of trademarks for drugs. In several other places in the article, however, he acknowledges that physicians should have freedom in the manner in which they designate drug names on their prescriptions, and he indicates that it is proper for physicians to have the responsibility and authority to prescribe a particular brand of a drug. Nevertheless, his conclusion leaves the reader in a quandary: the first sentence advocates the abolition of proprietary names, but the final sentence states that "the prescribing physician must be free to designate the manufacturer or brand [emphasis added] when, in his judgment, it is advantageous to the patient." Apparently, Dr. Allan wants to have his cake and eat it too.

It is noteworthy that the concluding statement reflects the policy of