Often, an individual only knows the name of the drug written on the prescription form (or that they've heard advertised on television). They are not aware that this medication is only one form of the drug. All drugs have a GENERIC name. This is often a chemical name and can be relevant to a number of drugs. Many drugs also have BRAND names. This is the name assigned to it by a particular drug company. So, while we may be familiar with the BRANDS Motrin and Advil, we may not realize that these are the same as GENERIC Ibuprofin. In some cases, a physician may need a patient to take a particular BRAND of drug (there may be differences between each brand that are important for the particular patient). In other cases, the BRAND may not be important, and so the physician will suggest that the patient take a GENERIC form of the medication (usually as a way of saving the patient some money).
In any event, it might be necessary, even IF the patient is taking a particular BRAND of drug, to know the GENERIC name of the drug as well. Online tools like MedlinePlus will lead TO the GENERIC; however, a researcher might not recognize that the GENERIC name relates to their drug until they look at the record.