Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

January 11, 2013

The drug name game

By Rebecca Todd
CNHI

— Due to the overwhelming popularity of my famous game show "App or No App" - that's right, I actually had one e-mail from someone who kind of liked it, but he probably just hadn't taken his medication - I have decided to do a spin-off game show! I know. It's pretty exciting, isn't it? And you get to be here for the premier!

In honor of App or No App's one and only fan, it's time for (drum roll), "Pill or No Pill!"

This is actually not really a new game. Pharmaceutical companies sometimes play it when they develop a new drug. Although they usually just watch old Star Trek reruns. That's the only way to explain their fondness for x, q, and z.

You laugh, but that is actually quite close to the truth. Pharmaceutical consultants, as they are called, don't depend on science to name these drugs. They try to convey what the drug does through the name. So they are like drug poets.

Also, they claim that those x's and z's they are so fond of "express power and control," so they try to use them as much as possible to show how powerful the drug is. Then they have the arduous task of researching to make sure no other drug has the same name or a name close to it. For all of this, they are paid $200,000 to $500,000 per product. Seriously. Just for the name. Then they pass the cost for the expensive name on to the elderly and infirmed who can't even afford the price of the drugs they are told they need.

But you don't want to hear me rant and rave about the evils of the pharmaceutical industry. We are here to have fun! So let's play (you're going to have to give me another drum roll), Pill or No Pill!

Our first over-priced drug with hideous side effects is Kixeva. So tell me, do you think this is a drug to treat the HIV virus or a green alien chick from the original Star Trek series? Yell it out! Pill or No Pill?

It's a drug, and I sincerely hope it helps because the list of side effects reads like a horror novel. Incidentally, the original green alien chick was named Marta; a name far too boring to be used for a drug.

Next up is Zobral. Is this a drug used to treat depression or was it a rebellion leader on the planet Toroth? Yell it out! Pill or No Pill?

This is a tricky one. It's an alien rebellion leader. However, change the "b" to a "t" and you have an antidepressant.

The last one is Droxine. Is this a drug used to treat hyperthyroidism or was it an alien woman from the planet Ardana? Take your time. No fair looking it up. Now yell it out! Pill or No Pill?

Ha. Got ya. It's both. Coincidence? I don't think so.

Now imagine playing the game for real and winning $200,000 to $500,000 every time you get it right. That's a game show too rich for Howie Mandel to host.

Think about that the next time you pick up a prescription.

- Rebecca Todd is a freelance writer and the author of the book "What's the Point?" available at booklocker.com. Contact her at btodd@tds.net.