“Disease Mongering” Behind Blockbuster Requip Sales for RLS – Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is a relatively new term that has become somewhat ubiquitous following a multi-million dollar ad campaign spearheaded by drug maker GlaxoSmithKline.  Given that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved generic versions of Requip, RLS may have run its course, according to experts.

In 2005, the FDA approved the first drug for RLS—a twitching condition affecting the legs—launching a new household term, a new designer disorder, and a multi-million-dollar consumer ad campaign.  Television ads hyping ropinirole hydrochloride, a drug originally used to treat Parkinson’s disease, sent patients to doctors demanding brand name, Requip.  In under a year, Requip sales doubled from $165 million in 2005 to nearly $330 million in 2006.  By last year, 4.4 million prescriptions were written, with sales of nearly $491 million, according to IMS health, an industry information agency. Read the rest of this entry »