The name doctor is in, dispensing instant diagnoses of medico-pharmaceutical nomenclature.
I have a hunch Intuitive Surgical does not inspire a great deal of confidence in you--it didn't in me. It's just this little thing I have: when I'm being cut open, I want the cutter to be guided by something a bit more informed than gut instinct. Besides, the juxtaposition of "intuitive" and "surgical" makes me think of those quack docs in the Philippines who perform "psychic surgery" with their bare hands. Of course, that's not what Intuitive Surgical does: in fact, oddly enough, it's a robotics company. So I'm not clear where the intuition is coming from, unless these particular robots have aced the Turing Test.
Got chlamydia? If you're in the UK, later this year you'll be able to treat the infection with a new over-the-counter drug--actually an old drug, azithromycin, newly approved for OTC sale. Its name? Clamelle. Trademark lawyer Jessica Stone Levy, who spotted the news story, commented in an e-mail: "How can a mark begin with clam and not evoke clammy? I'm sorry, it just sounds like something on an Saturday Night Live skit."
Or a weird name for a baby girl. Or something you'd wash down with Clamato. But it's worse than that. Not only is "clam" one of those intrinsically funny-sounding words (that comic "K" at the beginning?) but it's also a slang term for vagina. Which of course is one of the primary parts affected by chlamydia. (It's also U.S. slang for "one dollar.")
Even if I could get beyond all those negative associations, there's another problem: In U.S. pharmaceutical naming, at least, there's an unwritten proscription against mentioning the name of the disease in the name of the cure. Instead, we accentuate the positive. So the treatment for symptoms of enlarged prostate is Flomax, not TrickleX; if you have stomach ulcers you might take Zantac but never Burnesta.
Clamelle: bad medicine no matter how you look at it. And now I'll clam up.