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WHAT'S IN A NAME?

Harry F. Dowling
JAMA. 1960;173(14):1580-1582. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020320060017.
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"What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet."

SHAKESPEARE was right, of course, that a name is not an intrinsic part of an object; nevertheless, a name is necessary for the object to be identified and essential if the object is to be remembered. We doctors speak or write the names of several hundred drugs masquerading under several thousand trade names. How well do these names enable us to identify the drugs and remember them?

First, let us see how names become attached to drugs. Several different agencies are concerned with names: the Food and Drug Administration, the Convention of the United States Pharmacopeia, the National Formulary Committee, the Council on Drugs of the American Medical Association, and the World Health Organization. The Food and Drug Administration is charged by law with the duty of seeing that the label of

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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