Allied Health Professions > Pre-Pharmacy and Pharmacy

Somalis and Drug Name Confusion!!!


Every drug usually has three names: chemical, generic (non-proprietary), and brand (proprietary), and each is subject to different rules and regulations. The chemical name specifies the chemical structure of the drug. It is not pre-approved by any organization, nor is it recognized in any standard manuals. Therefore, chemical names are primarily used by researchers, but not in medical practice.

The generic name is usually created for drug substances when a new drug is ready for marketing.
Generic names are coined using an established stem, or group of letters, that represents a specific drug class.

The brand name, also called trademark, can be created as soon as a generic name has been established.

Medication errors can occur between brand names, generic names, and brand-to-generic names like Toradol and tramadol. But sometimes, medication errors involve more than just name similarities. Abbreviations, acronyms, dose designations, and other symbols used in medication prescribing also have the potential for causing problems.

For example, Metronidazole is the generic name and Flagyl is a trade name for the same drug. When a drug is under patent protection, the company markets it under its trade name. When the drug is off-patent (no longer protected by patent), the company may market its product under either the generic name or trade name. Other companies that file for approval to market the off-patent drug must use the same generic name but can create their own trade name. As a result, the same generic drug may be sold under either the generic name or one of many trade names.

Generic names are usually more complicated and harder to remember than trade names. Many generic names are a shorthand version of the drug's chemical name, structure, or formula. In contrast, trade names are usually catchy, often related to the drug's intended use, and relatively easy to remember, so that doctors will prescribe the drug and consumers will look for it by name.

Since Somali people are familiar with the trade names, here the confusion starts, doctors sometimes prescribe other different unheard name which is a trade name for the same drug patient used to take, but he simply may thought that doctor has changed the drug.
When he goes to the pharmacy the person in charge will give another different trade name & the patient still thinks that pharmacists is giving different drug!!!!

Sometimes doctors like to prescribe specific trade name which is available only in certain pharmacies in the town, & hence the patient will think that pharmacy is belong to his doctor!!!

These are examples of the confusion that usually happen to Somali people....

You can overcome your confusion by:

* If there is a long term drug you take it, you should know it's generic name, this will make easier for you to figure out the trade names available for your drug by reading drug labels.Pharmacist

Thanks Pharmacist for this interesting topic.

This confusion happens across the country, Someone sent me a letter from home years back, requesting if I can buy for him a drug which is not available in Somalia!!!

Later I discovered that, the name he sent me was not more than a new trade name for a known, cheap and available drug!!!

Guess who is responsible for this confusion?!!


I believe that generic and trade names must be unique to prevent one drug from being mistaken for another when drugs are prescribed and prescriptions are dispensed. In order to prevent suh confusion, the pharmaceutical industries and others in quest must agree to every proposed trade name.

Doctors as well as  researchers, and others who write about the new compound use the drug's generic name because it refers to the drug itself, not to a particular company's brand of the drug or a specific product.

Doctors often use the trade name on prescriptions, because it is easier to remember and doctors usually learn about new drugs by the trade name. besides trade names are easy to catch, often related to the drug's intended use, and relatively easy to remember,.
So the doctors will prescribe the drug and consumers will look for it by name. Trade names often suggest a characteristic of the drug. By instance Lopressor Lopressor lowers blood pressure.

thanks dr.mahdi and dr.mustafa for your participation.

My question to dr.mustafa: don't you think it's necessary for doctors to get oriented in where they want to practice, especially about the trade names available in that area?!

Assalam Pharmacist,

I believe that a physician should be acquianted when prescribing a drug to know its efficacy, safety and cost-effectiveness as well as its availability of the drug in that region.


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