Name Game

Companies put a lot of money into “branding,” which is the process of creating a unique identity for a company or product. Branding involves using text, names, colors, and graphics to forge an emotional attachment to potential consumers. The goal is to get consumers to recognize a company or product, and have some positive association with it, to improve the chances of selling goods or services.

Pharmacy Times says “Naming a new prescription drug is a long and complex process, costing upwards of $2.25 million.”


Branding comes from the ancient rite of marking cattle, so that each cattle would be recognized as belonging to a herd and a particular owner. Each owner had their own symbol, scorched into the animal’s hide.

Read a great article about its origin here.

In the bleeding disorders community, it’s very important for different factor manufacturers to have strong brands, as so many products seem the same. And yet, they each need some recognizable name for their function. Our newest therapy is the gene therapy for hemophilia B called Hemgenix. That’s an easy name to decipher. Hem=blood. Gen=gene. IX=B (for hemophilia B).

Have you ever thought about what the other factor names mean?

Advate: “Advanced factor VIII (eight)”

BeneFIX: Bene means well, and FIX is factor IX.

NovoSeven: Novo means new, and Seven refers to factor VII.

Jivi: it’s not obvious it’s for factor VIII. Jivi is the Hindi word for “life.”

As for the others, I’m not sure. What are you guesses? Afstyla, Alprolix, Esperoct, Idelvion?


One suffix I encountered for company names and was curious about was “Rx.” We all know it’s used for prescriptions but why? Rx is used in some pharmacy company names like DiRx Pharmacy. I’m guessing is means direct treatment? And GoodRx is easy to figure out.

According to the book Who Put the Butter in Butterfly? “R” is the symbol of the Roman god Jupiter, the patron of medicines. Rx is also an abbreviation of “recipe,” from the Latin recipere, to receive. R appeared on top of all prescriptions, denoting “to take”: directions then followed. Even the English word recipe originally referred to medical prescriptions. Over time the word was also used for cooking–not unusual, as many of the same herbs and spices in cooking were being used in prescriptions at the time!

Flavored medicine has been around longer than we think!

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