There are two new Covid-fighting drugs I haven’t heard much about – is it because they are unpronounceable? | Adrian Chiles

Generic medicine names can sound like random collections of syllables. But there is a method to it

It is a couple of weeks since the announcement of two important new drugs in the treatment of Covid. They have not really been mentioned since, especially in the broadcast media. I think I know why: their names are a right mouthful and have been made a meal of several times by people like me. The prime minister, alas, fumbled them in the first place, but on this occasion I don’t see we can blame him. Even with a bit of practice and a steady run-up, tocilizumab and sarilumab remain hard to say and next to impossible to remember.

I have long wondered where they conjure these names up. It is tricky enough, especially for older people, to get your head around what you’re taking and when and what for, without dealing with all these unmemorable, apparently random collections of syllables. I have been taking something for reflux for years and I still forget whether it’s opremazole or omeprazole.

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