Pfizer, Costco & Glaxo's Ofatumumab

Friday the 13th. My lucky day for reaching into the Pharma's Market mailbag.

Yesterday I gave a shout out to The Wall Street Journal's Health Blog for a couple of the proposed names for the new company created by Pfizer and Wyeth .

Jeffrey Clark, who writes the "Beaker's Blog", emailed me to point out, "This poll, exactly as you have it, was originally created & published on Beaker the day the news came out. It subsequently showed up on the WSJ Health Blog later." Okay, Jeff, happy to give credit where credit is due, but I think I came up with the "Pfft," which has garnered more than one-fifth of the votes as of this writing.

My entry about Costco keeping track of my peanut-butter product purchases drew a few responses. First of all, CNBC's retail reporter, Margaret Brennan, told me the practice is not uncommon. An anonymous reader said the monitoring is designed to make for easy returns or exchanges if you lose the receipt and for recalls. "It's for the company's protection as well as the members. I think (it) is very important and this is one of the reasons I love shopping there," wrote the person who didn't sign their name.

N.H. Jaeger emailed that he/she suspects the company might use the information for other purposes. "You might also inquire if Costco resells that raw information to marketing companies. They can then resell the processed results to companies that are interested in what people that fit your profile like to buy. There is probably something in the fine print of their privacy policy that says they can share this with 3rd parties."

I also neglected to mention that in addition to sending me the two notices in the mail that Costco called my house twice.

I received a bunch of feedback and conflicting information about the post regarding GlaxoSmithKline'sofatumumab and the source of such mouthful, scientific, generic names for drugs. I knew that the "mab" at the end stands for monoclonal antibody, but Robert Stephan, the Director of Medical Services and Strategy at The Arcas Group, adds, "The companies only have the first few letters to 'name' their generic antibodies--most of the word describes that it is an antibody and the type of antibody it is (mouse, human, humanized mouse, recombinant, etc.)."

Blaine Knight at the Southern Research Institute at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, thinks I displayed my ignorance. "Your response demonstrates a lack of understanding scientific nomenclature for active drug substance," he wrote.

Les Thomas said,"Believe it or not, it's the American Medical Association (and the WHO) who comes up with the naming rules for compounds." Not the rock group, by the way, the World Health Organization.

Ginny Llobell with an industry consulting company called "Defined Health" kind of backed that up. "You know these are not by design of the biotechs or pharmacos (drug companies) but by some government derived or sanctioned naming convention for monoclonal antibodies, yes?" she wrote.

But Christopher Johnson claims "The naming 'science' behind pharmaceutical science" can be found here.

Financial advisor Warden Good asked, "I've often wondered if there is some conversation that is employed for these compounds because they seem so ridiculous. How could anyone come up with that stuff and not spell something silly every time?"

And Steven Hochhauser, a healthcare consultant for Frost & Sullivan, emailed, "My favorite generic drug name is 'tadalafil' for (Eli Lilly's) Cialis. As in "Ta Daaa! Look honey, no more erectile dysfunction!"

On that note, Happy Valentine's Day.

Questions? Comments?