Merck & Co., Inc., a leading global pharmaceutical company, needed to name a new anti-inflammatory drug. The new name needed to work around the world for physicians, pharmacists and patients. Given past experiences with global trademark challenges, a coined, made-up word was felt to have a higher chance of trademark registrability in all the key foreign markets.
Merck preferred a shorter name that could be quickly written out as a prescription by doctors but different enough than related products to eliminate possible confusion at the pharmacy. The name also had to somehow tie to its chemical formulation: a COX-2 inhibitor, without sounding so "pharmaceutical" that it turned off consumers or was impossible to remember.
After extensive legal research, NameStormers' Vioxx suggestion was selected as the ideal name.
The name was very short and snappy. The "oxx" ending helped identify it with the Cox-2 inhibitor category of drugs. The "Vi" prefix, coming from the Latin for life and living, appealed to consumers. The two "X's" at the end at the end of the name suggested strength and innovation and added a visually distinctive element, which helped draw the eye, and added to the name's memorability and global success.