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Successful Marketing Behind Restless Leg Syndrome Drug

GlaxoSmithKline's Requip should make about $500 million this year--not bad for a drug that treats a syndrome that few people knew existed before the company launched a multi-pronged marketing effort in 2004.

Glaxo began its blitz by advertising restless-legs syndrome (RLS) to doctors in medical journals. Then it sent specialists to discuss the disease with general practitioners. The drug was so heavily advertised directly to consumers that some doctors accuse Glaxo of disease-mongering.

Requip--a compound that regulates the brain chemical dopamine, which is responsible for controlling body movements--was originally developed to treat Parkinson's disease. Glaxo realized Requip's potential for treating RLS after some doctors began prescribing it off-label for the disorder, which can keep severe sufferers awake all night.



Read the whole story at The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) »

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