Code recreates Pfizer's 1956 effort to procedurally generate drug names


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/11/30/code-recreates-pfizers-1956.html


#2

Slawax…dread barbarian foe of the Evil Wizard Zoloft.


#3

42,000 words…would take a human 269,000 years

That’s about 6 1/2 years per word. I feel like I could crank through the first 10,000 in a week or two (including checking pre-internet that the word isn’t already used), so it must get a LOT harder after that!


#4

I once worked at a product naming company that sometimes worked on pharmaceuticals. This may be an old wive’s tale, but one of the guys there told me that ibuprofen got its name by just choosing some bits from the commonly-used list of drug prefixes and suffixes (pro-, fen-, bu-).


#5

My favorite was DontCaratal, to treat my DontCareItitis…


#6

We’ve already heard one of those banned words.
" I’d like to build the world a home
and burnishite with love."


#7

I always assumed that they came up with the names by randomly drawing Scrabble tiles from a bin.

Ask your doctor if Quimbazej is right for you.


#8

Maybe, but like paracetamol/acetaminophen (aka N-acetyl-para-aminophenol) most of those syllables do appear in the chemical name (isobutylphenylpropionic acid). Particularly interesting to me WRT paracetamol/acetaminophen is that both names are plausibly derived from the chemical name, but they are different.


#9

cocklesex is like super-viagra


#10

Raunchyata was my radio name back in Detroit!


#11

It cured my asthma in just one week!


#12

When all else fails, try Obecalp®!


#13

I take whirringom for my severely fabtrapstenated palps


#14

Maybe it’s just me, but a lot of these, particularly the improper ones, seem like they would make great hashtags.

As in, “I’m not dreaming of a White Christmas. #shittyule


#15

Then there was the early erectile dysfunction drug Mycoxafalin


#16

Overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out.


#17

God is a drug!?


#18

National Lampoon had a 1970s medical issue featuring some faux drug advertisements. A placebo had trade names of Mendacin, Apochryole, and Foolemall, while an end-of-life drug was called Terminalin, available in .22, .38, and .45 caliber doses.

But! …fictitious and opaque drug trade names go far back, as any search on my screen name shows.

Why such a name? IF your first ISP was STD dot com, the username ‘penicillin’ is uninspired and ‘azithromycin’ too obscure.


#20

Sounds like a stronger version of good ole Damitol.


#21

That one had unintended side effects such as changing sexual orientation in female patients. It was later renamed Nomanitol