With reports of bizarre sleep-walking side effects causing sales to plummet, Sanofi-Aventis, manufacturer of the sleep drug Ambien, has begun a new ad campaign. Analysts predict that a large-scale advertising war between Ambien and its competitors will soon follow.
Pfizer Inc., and their partner Neurocrine Sciences Inc., are planning to release a new pill, currently known as indiplon, that will compete with Ambien and Sepracor's Lunesta this summer. Ads are likely to flood the media.
Sleeping pill prescriptions increased 55 percent, to more than 45 million, over the course of four years. But publicity about negative side effects have caused Ambien sales to decline as much as 12 percent during March of this year.
Ambien, Lunesta, and indiplon are all in the same class of drugs, so they may all have similar side effects.