Using drug names

So, I'm writing a story that has a large focus on pharmaceutical drugs, and while I know that using brand names like Tylenol is a big no-no, if I were to use a word like ibuprofen, would be that set me up to be sued? Because, while I would rather not, I could make up a fake drug, but I would rather not do that, as it would take up a lot of time for some plot points that, while important for background information, is not completely relevant to the plot.


http://www.rightsofwriters.com/2010/12/can-i-mention-brand-name-products-in-my.html


Plus, it's one of the genericized trademarks. Some brand names are generecized because they've been used as such for so long, like heroine, videotape, and aspirin. Others are genericized because the trademark was abandoned or non-renewed, like App, multi-ball, and zipper. Still others are legally protected but are used so much as generic terms that you probably won't get sued unless you try to defame any of it. Examples in this category include adrenalin, bubble wrap, taser, velcro, and Tylenol.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_generic_and_genericized_trademarks


the generic names are names given by the USAN council to be a non proprietary name for a drug. They are, by definition, not trademarked and public domain names. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Adopted_Name


If it helps, making up drug names is also an option. I use "Denudine," and "Afoxis," (the first suppresses metahuman abilities and the second is a glorified ADHD medication) for example. If they sound somewhat scientific, but also friendly, they'll generally be acceptable under suspension of disbelief. Here's a few more: Cetamaxalin, Peroferin, Pyrocylotol, and more! It's actually pretty fun.


However, generally using the word for the chemical is fine; for example ibuprofen, since it's short for sobutylphenylpropanoic acid, would be okay. Nobody's trademarked that, and in fact they couldn't. Using the actual name of the chemical is probably the safest bet.


Is it possible to mention existing TV / radio channels and characters from real world fiction, such as Sherlock Holmes?


Most of the Sherlock Holmes stories are in the public domain so that might be a bad example for defining boundaries.


I'd encourage you to read the link in the first response on this thread, as it has a lot of good information about your questions, and also to read up on this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_domain and the related links at the bottom.