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Xcellent Names for Drugz

Ever wondered why so many prescription drug names are loaded with x’s and z’s (Celebrex, Flomax, Zocor etc.)? “[U]se of these letters relates to the imperative to make a brand name highly visible in a crowd,” explains Rob Stepney in the British Medical Journal. “Reflecting their infrequent occurrence in English words, x and z count for 8 and 10 points in Scrabble, the highest values (along with j and q) in the game. So names that contain them are likely to seem special and be memorable. ‘If you meet them in running text, they stand out,’ is the way one industry insider explained.” The trend, however, is relatively recent, which Stepney attributes to a couple factors. “I suggest that this phenomenon arose because of the fast rate at which new products were being introduced, the fact that the difference between many “me too” drugs was more apparent than real, the immense rewards that were seen to accrue from innovative marketing, and the fact that the ploys available for use in the naming of drugs are so restricted.” (HT: Marginal Revolution) [%comments]