23 interesting drug name origins

Drug names, whether brand or generic, are sometimes a pharmacist’s worst enemy. Pronunciation struggles, spelling difficulties, and memorization issues make you wonder how and why pharmaceutical companies come to name their drugs.

This is how I assumed drug names were created, but Twitter user Andy Webb (@AJWPharm) started a great thread on drug origin names.

Here are some of my favourites:

Some drugs are named after people:

Others are named after the places they were discovered:

While some are named after … favourite gangster movies (?):

Sometimes drugs have scientific origins:

Others are named based on how they were made:

And some are named based on an important characteristic of the drug:

Finally, my personal favourite:

So it seems like not all drug names are strings of random letters!

Do you have a favourite drug origin name, or know of another one not mentioned here? Leave it below in the comments!

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