Wherefore Art Thou Schering-Plough?

What's in a name?

What's in a name? (Photo by Heidi Splete)


From the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, Washington

Whenever there’s a marriage, the question arises of how to refer to the couple, and when and under what circumstances any name changes take effect. The same is true of drug companies.  It’s a challenge to keep track of who has taken up with whom. I faced this question today, when I wrote about a study sponsored by Schering-Plough, which is soon to unite with Merck. 

Since the proposed merger has yet to be formalized, I used Schering-Plough in my wire story today. But if something changes by the time another of our news products uses it, will we need to make a change? To what?

And how to address the pair in the future? Some couples keep their names (Mr. Merck and Ms. Schering-Plough). Some keep a former name professionally (doing business as Mr. Schering-Plough).  Some couples combine their names (the Smercks?). 

Of course, sometimes couples (and companies) break up–then is it back to the original name, or something else? It will be interesting to see whether the changing economic climate yields more mergers, or maybe some breakups, as we are seeing in the auto industry, if some smaller subsidiary companies are doing as well as expected.

Anyone need a gift idea for Merck and Schering-Plough? I’d recommend monogrammed towels, if I knew what to put on them . . . .

—Heidi Splete

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Filed under Allergy and Immunology

2 responses to “Wherefore Art Thou Schering-Plough?

  1. Mitchel Zoler

    Another consequence of pharma merger is the disappearance of many venerable drug company names that had been reminders of the industry’s history and apothecary lineage. For example, there’s GlaxoSmithKline, which today often goes by the very unevocative name GSK. A browse through the history page of the GSK website shows that old company names left behind on the road to consolidation include French (of Smith Kline French), Beecham, Burroughs, Wellcome, Allen and Hansburys, and Beckman.

  2. Alicia

    I personally like Schmerck. Not to be confused with schmuck.

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