Medicine Names

WSVN — Ever wondered how a drug gets its name? Some of the biggest pharmaceutical drugs in the world are named in Downtown Miami.

They are the ultimate name droppers. Thirty-two-year-old Scott Piergrossi and his creative team at Brand Institute in Downtown Miami have unique jobs you probably didn’t even know existed. They name pharmaceutical drugs

Scott Piergrossi, Brand Institute creative designer: “You might be shocked to know that a drug that your relative is on, or you’re on, the name for that was developed right here in Miami. Last year we partnered on 80 percent of the names approved by the FDA.”

So what goes into developing a drug name? The creative team sits through weeks of brainstorming sessions where they throw out thousands of names.

Scott Piergrossi: “The process usually involves the creation of 2,000 names per project.”

Then, over several months, it’s boiled down to around eight to 10 names to submit to the pharmaceutical client.

Scott Piergrossi: “When we create a name, there are visual elements, but there are also communicative elements, so we want the name to paint an image or be a little more descriptive in a specific attribute or benefit of the product.”

Ladies, recognize the name Latisse, the popular drug that claims to make your eyelashes long and lush? Scott and his team came up with the name.

Scott Piergrossi: “It’s primarily coined from Matisse, the artist and sculptor, and then you have the La prefix, which indicates lash.”

Or how about the sleep aid Lunesta?

Scott Piergrossi: “Lunesta was created from the lunar imagery, so night time since it’s a sleep aid. The suffix created restorative.”

Since a drug’s name must also be approved by the FDA, Brand Institute even has a team of healthcare professionals, like pharmacist Brian Frasca, to test out the safety of a name.

Brian Frasca, Safety & Market Research, Brand Institute: “Our number one priority is making sure that the names we bring to market aren’t going to be confused as other products and possibly cause medication error.”

You might think it would be hard to constantly come up with new names, but Scott says after 11 years on the job, he’s yet to be stumped. The Barry University graduate is constantly coining names while showering or exercising. His friends even have fun with his skills.

Scott Piergrossi: “My friends give me ridiculous products, and they ask me to name them. Like they make up crazy things, and they are like ‘name it’. I usually do, and everyone gets a laugh.”

Brand Institute has also come up with 75 percent of the drug names approved in Europe.


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