Glaxosmithkline's Marketing Strategy for Requip: A Case Study in Product Lifecycle Management

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG173
Case Length : 23 Pages
Period : 2002-2007
Pub Date : 2007
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : GlaxoSmithKline, Plc.
Industry : Pharmaceutical
Countries : USA, Europe

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Excerpts Contd...

A Marketing Coup

GSK's marketing efforts were widely appreciated by marketing experts, doctors and patient advocacy groups. Experts were particularly impressed by GSK's initial un-branded ad campaigns that strove to increase awareness about the disease. Some doctors and patient advocates praised GSK for raising the profile of a disorder, which they considered under-diagnosed and under-treated. They said that GSK had helped educate the doctors and consumers about this relatively unknown disorder...

Criticism of GSK's RLS Marketing

The campaign for Requip also earned GSK a lot of negative attention. Critics said that GSK had created a market for RLS by aggressively marketing the disease through sales force visits to doctors, advertisements in medical magazine, and DTC advertising. The company was accused of disease mongering and critics also contended that there were many conflicts of interest in GSK's marketing of Requip in RLS.

Disease Mongering
Critics said that pharmaceutical companies such as GSK were inventing new diseases in the quest for profits, a practice they called disease mongering. They accused the industry of creating a number of newly-defined medical conditions such as RLS, sexual dysfunction, erectile dysfunction, sleeplessness, social anxiety disorder, irritable bowel syndrome, etc., to keep their revenues moving northward...

Conflict of Interest
Some critics contended that GSK was expanding the market for its drugs with the help of patient advocacy groups. In addition to the incident involving ESG in the UK, GSK had attracted criticism for using RLSF to allegedly forward its marketing agenda...

Criticism of DTC advertising
Some experts believed that disease mongering was more of a problem in the US as DTC advertising was allowed. Critics contended that such ads exploited the consumers' health fears...

GSK's Views on the Criticism

GSK defended its marketing of Requip. The company contended that it viewed sharing medical information on diseases, including RLS, as a part of its mission. GSK said that people should not trivialize RLS as it was a real medical condition that afflicted a number of patients around the world...


Analysts expected that increased awareness and diagnosis of RLS would expand the market for RLS in the future. With more people getting diagnosed for the condition, WestLB AG (WestLB) expected the number of patients treated for RLS to grow from an estimated 380,000 in 2006 to 2.2 million in 2015.

This would help the RLS market to grow to US$1.7 billion in value terms by 2015. WestLB felt that RLS drugs would be a good revenue source for GSK and other new entrants to the market...


Exhibit I: GSK's Logo
Exhibit II: GSK's Five-Year Financial Summary
Exhibit III: Pack-Shot of Requip
Exhibit IV: A Brief Note on Restless Legs Syndrome
Exhibit V: A Requip Ad for PD
Exhibit VI: An Un-Branded RLs Print Ad
Exhibit VII: Screen-Shot of
Exhibit VIII: Screen-Shot of
Exhibit IX: Global RLS R&D Pipeline
Exhibit X: How Media Helped Requip to become a Treatment for RLs


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