According to a December 20, 2004 report in the Boston Globe, about a third of the trademarks chosen for new drugs are rejected by regulators, most often because of fears they will be confused with existing drug names. That could lead a doctor or a pharmacist to accidentally administer the wrong medication, with potentially catastrophic effects.
Biogen Idec officials won't say exactly when they learned that the name Antegren was a problem. Amy Brockelman, a Biogen Idec spokeswoman, said the name created potential conflicts with Integrilin, a drug marketed by Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Cambridge for heart attacks and other cardiac woes; Ativan, an anti-anxiety medication; and Edecrin, a diuretic. But they said they had a list of backup names, and the one they chose was Tysabri. ''Abri is the French word for shelter, and that conveys the notion of protection and that Tysabri offers a new level of of efficacy and new hope for people living with multiple sclerosis," said Brockelman.