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May 29, 1915


JAMA. 1915;LXIV(22):1853-1854. doi:10.1001/jama.1915.02570480049021

The decision of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature in regard to the name "ancylostoma" has excited lively interest.1 This seems somewhat singular in view of the general indifference to the nomenclature of drugs. Perhaps it would be better to say that the apathy of the medical profession toward the deplorably chaotic condition of drug nomenclature is singular and requires explanation. Certainly no irregularity and no innovation in the naming of a parasite can produce the harm and inconvenience that result from the haphazard naming of remedial agents.

The first requisite of successful prescribing is to know what one is giving. If the prescriber has not clearly in mind the exact properties and character of the drug prescribed, he does not know that drug. The mellifluous and meaningless name preferred for its "convenience" to a chemically descriptive name is too often an alias, masking the actual relationships of the