Pharma companies do love to name their drugs using rather uncommon letters. They like to both start their drug names with these letters and mix them throughout the name.
Consider this, the most commonly used letter in English is E. It accounts for 12.7% of all letters used in all the words in the Concise Oxford dictionary. The letter Z, the least commonly used letter, accounts for only 0.07%.
But pharma seems to love Z.
For the drug names considered in this study, the letter Z accounts for 2.52% of all letters used. That's roughly 3,300% different than what would be expected (0.07%).
Z has the largest absolute variance from what is expected. The next letter on the list (X), is only used around 1,100% more than expected. I should note that pharma seems to hate the letter W. It should account for around 2.36% of letters, but it only accounts for 0.06% when it comes to drug names. In fact, it was only used one time [in drug named
ERWINAZE]. Congrats to the brave folks at Jazz Pharmaceutical for breaking with tradition. Wait! They used a Z also, so nevermind.
There's really the only thing that I think explains why all of these drugs seem to use a common naming convention, which I would classify as: using rarely used letters in bizarre combinations making for unpronounceable words.
Knowing what I know of pharma marketing agencies (of which there are a handful that are fully dedicated to this vertical), I wonder how many of these names came out of the same shop. How many came from the same company using their same, seemingly random formula for naming new drugs?
It might be time to look for some different thinking elsewhere.