Recently, several ads for pharmaceuticals have jumped out at me during researching other things, and I was struck by the odd names these drugs had. Each was using the .com for their website.
The names were Opdivo.com, Yervoy.com, and Xiidra.com. All brandables, all kind of strange.
The first and second ones are owned by Bristol-Myers Squibb, registered in 2012 and 2009 respectively. The third name is registered by Michael Freed of Shire.com.
On the home page of Shire.com is a notice about another one: Onivyde, an oncology drug they’re marketing, now available in certain countries. Their website is Onivyde.com. A related name is Provyde, the name of their service that helps people get the drug if they cannot afford it; they do not appear to own that domain but have a trademark on the name.
While pharma companies sometimes will use a name that hints at aspects of the substance or simply combines portions of the ingredients’ names, they obviously have a wide range of choice in whatever name they choose for their product. (And of course different countries later will likely carry varying brand names of the same drug.)
In other words, these are all made-up names. They may not need to be catchy. In fact two of these examples are serious cancer drugs and aren’t likely to become household names. The website contains information aimed at physicians, not the public. (On the other hand, other drugs WILL become household names.)
Some names are deliberately chosen so they don’t sound like other things, but is it necessary for them to be a mouthful like Yervoy? Why should they buy only some twelve-dollar, not-so-great names found in drop auctions? Perhaps we should all list our more easily-pronounced brandables for the benefit of this industry.
Here are some of our best ones that sound like pharma names but we have lots more: