DRUG NAMES

A drug can have three different names. The chemical name specifies the exact chemical

makeup of the drug. This name often is long and complicated.

The generic name, typically shorter and less complicated, identifies the drug legally and

scientifically. The generic name becomes public property after years of use by the

original manufacturer, and any drug manufacturer may use it thereafter. There is only one

generic name for each drug.

The brand name or trademark is the private property of the individual drug manufacturer,

and no competitor may use it. A brand name (also called trade name) often has the

superscript after or before the name, indicating that it is a registered brand name. Drugs

can have several brand names, because each manufacturer producing the drug gives it a

different name. When a specific brand name is ordered on a prescription by a physician, it

must be dispensed by the pharmacist; no other brand name may be substituted. It is usual

practice to capitalize the first letter of a brand name.

The following example shows the chemical, generic, and brand names for the antibiotic

drug amoxicillin; note that the drug has several brand names but only one generic, or

official, name:

CHEMICAL NAMEGENERIC NAMEBRAND NAMES

[2S,5R,6R]-6-[(R)-(–)-2-amino-2-(phydroxyphenyl)

acetamido]-3,3-dimethyl-

7-oxo-4-thia-1-azabicyclo[3.2.0]

heptane-2-carboxylic acid

amoxicillin

Amoxil

Polymox

Trimox