There’s no arguing that GlucoNorm is easier to remember (and pronounce) than Repaglinide. That’s one of the reasons a drug company made up that name: it’s user friendly and also implies benefits for the diabetes patients it’s prescribed for.

But there are good reasons why generic names are long and sound awkward to many people: they’re based on factors like drug class, active ingredients and chemical structure. Which is why it’s recommended that doctors, medical journals and medical schools use the generic name: it’s full of useful information. So shouldn’t Health Canada use them, too?

Today in The Conversation Canada, Joel Lexchin of York University and University of Toronto and Abhimanyu Sud of University of Toronto explain why it matters that Health Canada often gives precedence to brand names. Drug names might not seem like a big deal, but when pharmaceutical company branding infiltrates health care, it affects patients as well.

Also today:

All the best,

Patricia Nicholson

Health + Medicine Editor

Generic drug names are assigned at the global level by the World Health Organization in conjunction with national naming authorities. (Shutterstock)

Generic drug names provide information for doctors, so why is Health Canada promoting the use of pharma brand names?

Joel Lexchin, University of Toronto; Abhimanyu Sud, University of Toronto

Generic drug names are often long, but they can tell doctors what type of medicine it is and how it works. But it’s brand names that appear first and most prominently in Health Canada materials.

In 2017, Louis C.K. fell from grace after he was accused of sexual misconduct. (Shutterstock)

Louis C.K.: Sexual misconduct and the pursuit of justice

Christopher J. Schneider, Brandon University; Stacey Hannem, Wilfrid Laurier University

Cancel culture is what is left when people who have caused harm fail to actively accept responsibility and work to repair that harm.

International students living abroad who face unpredictable pandemic travel restrictions during holidays may be feeling vulnerable, and reaching out is important. (Shutterstock)

Amid COVID-19 stressors, international students and their university communities should prioritize mental health supports

Ezgi Ozyonum, Concordia University; Qiyang Zhang, Johns Hopkins University

Peer support, opportunities to engage in responses to combat racism and bias and culturally responsive counselling are important for the mental health and well-being of international students.

La Conversation

L’art écologique, le design et l’architecture peuvent être des agents du changement

Carmela Cucuzzella, Concordia University

Qu’il s’agisse d’installations de glace ou de projections d’art générées à partir de relevés de la qualité de l’air, les artistes proposent des expériences fortes qui font réagir sur l’environnement.


  • The sordid underbelly of Christmas past

    James A. T. Lancaster, The University of Queensland

    We tend to romanticise the Christmas season, that time of year when we gather with friends and family, feast and be merry. But for most of its history Christmas has been a time of sordid behaviour.

Environment + Energy

Science + Tech