New brands, stepped-up spending drive big TV-ad outlay for diabetes in 2015

Type 2 diabetes is on the rise in the U.S.--and so is TV ad spending for drugs to treat the condition. New medicines, along with increased marketing budgets on older meds, more than doubled diabetes category spending on TV advertising in 2015 to $468 million, up from $194 million in 2014, according to data collected by real-time TV tracker iSpot.tv.

The four new diabetes drug entrants to TV advertising last year were Sanofi's ($SNY) Toujeo, Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly's ($LLY) Jardiance, Eli Lilly's Trulicity, and GlaxoSmithKline's ($GSK) Tanzeum.

However, it was Johnson & Johnson's Invokana, already on the airwaves, that made the biggest splash, spending $101.2 million on TV ads in 2015, up from $35.2 million in 2014. iSpot noted that just one Invokana ad, "You're Not Alone," accounted for an estimated $75 million additional spending, or 16% of the category total for the year.

However, it might have been money well spent. U.S. sales of Invokana spiked upward with J&J reporting $348 million in fourth-quarter revenue for the brand, up 80% when compared with the $193 million in U.S. sales for the same quarter of 2014. Even more impressive, for the year, J&J reported Invokana earnings of $1.24 billion in the U.S., up 118% from $569 million in 2014.

Invokana was the first entrant in the SGLT-2 inhibitor class in 2013, going up against tried-and-true stalwarts in established drug classes, like Merck's ($MRK) DPP-4 blockbuster Januvia and Novo Nordisk's ($NVO) GLP-1 drug Victoza. Since then it has been joined by AstraZeneca's ($AZN) Farxiga and Lilly ($LLY) and BI's Jardiance, which were No. 3 and No. 7, respectively, on iSpot's estimated TV spending chart for 2015.

Still, for all its spending, Invokana was still No. 2 overall in the diabetes category, behind Pfizer and its diabetic nerve pain fighter Lyrica. Lyrica, which is also approved for fibromyalgia, has been an evergreen on ad spender lists since it bowed in 2005. Last year, it was the No. 2 overall in total paid media ad spending in Nielsen's annual roundup.

iSpot noted that overall, the diabetes drug brands spent steadily throughout 2015, with only slightly heavier pushes by both Lyrica and Invokana from February through May.

Lyrica
Pfizer

2015 TV spend: $116.2 million
2014 TV spend: $102.9 million

Invokana
Johnson & Johnson

2015 TV spend: $101.2 million
2014 TV spend: $35.2 million

Farxiga
AstraZeneca

2015 TV spend: $78.4 million
2014 TV spend: $34.6 million

Victoza
Novo Nordisk

2015 TV spend: $51.8 million
2014 TV spend: $4.4 million

Toujeo
Sanofi

2015 TV spend: $30.2 million
2014 TV spend: $0

Levemir
Novo Nordisk

2015 TV spend: $28.6 million
2014 TV spend: $8.8 million

Jardiance
Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim

2015 TV spend: $19.2 million
2014 TV spend: $0

Trulicity
Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim

2015 TV spend: $13.4 million
2014 TV spend: $0

NovoLog FlexPen/diabetic cycling team
Novo Nordisk
2015 TV spend: $12.8 million
2014 TV spend: $900,000

Januvia
Merck & Co.

2015 TV spend: $10 million
2014 TV spend: $8.3 million

Tanzeum
GlaxoSmithKline

2015 TV spend: $6.2 million
2014 TV spend: $0

Special Report: The top 10 most-advertised prescription drug brands - Lyrica

Read more on