Lather, rinse, repeat for AbbVie, Lilly, Pfizer and Merck, April's not-so-new top pharma TV ad spenders

Four of the top five pharma TV ad spenders in April—AbbVie, Lilly, Pfizer and Merck—were repeats from March.

It's déjà vu in the pharma TV ad spending world. April's top spenders were almost a repeat from the previous month, with four of the five top brands making another appearance.

AbbVie’s Humira—No. 1 again for the twelfth straight month—Eli Lilly’s Trulicity, Pfizer’s Lyrica and Merck’s Keytruda all took the top spots again, along with top-five newcomer Breo from GlaxoSmithKline. GSK had launched two new TV spots in the respiratory drug’s ongoing “puzzle pieces” campaign in January.

Adding to the repeating spenders’ push was a string of new pharma TV spots that debuted in March and April, including commercials for Humira, Trulicity, Johnson & Johnson's Xarelto and Pfizer's Xeljanz. Those new efforts push the total for the 10 biggest spenders in April to $150 million.

J&J's new TV ad for clot-fighter Xarelto, featuring Olympic swimmer Katie Hoff and Nascar driver Brian Vickers, looks to be one of the new ads that has come out of the gate strong. The company has spent more than $21 million on national TV buys since the ad debuted 8 weeks ago, according to iSpot data. Pfizer’s oral rheumatoid arthritis therapy Xeljanz has been another fast mover, dropping about $23 million on TV ads since early March.

Merck’s next-gen cancer fighter Keytruda also continued spending strong, making the top five for the third month in a row after launching its first TV DTC work in January.

1. Humira
Movement: Stayed same
What is it? AbbVie anti-inflammatory drug
Total estimated spending: $27 million (down from $31.5 million in March)
Number of spots: 7 (2 for arthritis, 4 for ulcerative colitis/Crohn's, 2 for psoriasis)
Biggest-ticket ad: "Volunteering” for arthritis (est. $8.4. million)

2. Trulicity
Movement: Up from No. 3
What is it? Eli Lilly GLP-1 diabetes drug
Total estimated spending: $20.8 million (up from $17 million in Feb.)
Number of spots: 3
Biggest-ticket ad: “Restoration” (est. $11 million)

3. Lyrica
Movement: Up from No. 5
What is it? Pfizer seizure and pain drug
Total estimated spending: $18.2 million (up from $15.1 million in Feb.)
Number of spots: 4
Biggest-ticket ad: "More Active” ($7.1 million)

4. Keytruda
Movement:
Down from No. 2
What is it? Merck’s PD-L1 cancer fighter
Total estimated spending: $14 million (down from $20.3 million in March)
Number of spots: 1
Biggest-ticket ad: “Sharon’s Story”

5. Breo
Movement:
Not on list in March
What is it? GlaxoSmithKline respiratory drug
Total estimated spending: $12.4 million
Number of spots: 2
Biggest-ticket ad: "Sam’s Tex Mex" (est. $6.8 million)

6. Xarelto
Movement: Not on list in March
What is it? Johnson & Johnson clot-fighter
Total estimated spending: $12.32 million
Number of spots: 1
Biggest-ticket ad: “Most Challenging Opponent”

7. Latuda
Movement:
Not on list in March
What is it? Sunovion Pharmaceutical antipsychotic
Total estimated spending: $12.26 million
Number of spots: 1
Biggest-ticket ad: "Maya's Story"

8. Xeljanz XR
Movement: Down from No. 7
What is it? Pfizer oral rheumatoid arthritis therapy
Total estimated spending: $12 million (down from $12.7 million in March)
Number of spots: 1
Biggest-ticket ad: "Porcupine”

9. Movantik
Movement:
Down from No. 4
What is it? AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo treatment for opioid-induced constipation
Total estimated spending: $10.9 million (down from $16.8 million in March)
Number of spots: 1
Biggest-ticket ad: “Frank’s Moment”

10. Taltz
Movement: Not on list in March
What is it? Eli Lilly next-gen psoriasis treatment
Total estimated spending: $10.3 million
Number of spots: 3
Biggest-ticket ad: “Completely Clear Skin” (est. $2.1 million)