Pharma TV spend on track for record year; AbbVie, Pfizer and Eli Lilly lead

TV and advertising graphic
National TV ad spending for pharma at halfway mark already at $1.75 billion, outpacing 2016 at same point.

If the first 6 months of pharma TV ad spending serve as any indication, 2017 could be another record-setting advertising year for the industry. Year-to-date spending on national TV pharma ads topped $1.75 billion, outpacing 2016’s half-year mark of just under $1.5 billion, according to data from real-time TV ad tracker iSpot.tv.

AbbVie’s Humira leads the branded TV spending spree with $158 million spent in the first 6 months, a 6.7% increase over the $148 million it spent during the same 6 months in 2016. Pfizer’s Lyrica follows with $98 million spent on national TV ads so far this year, and Eli Lilly’s Trulicity is in the No. 3 spot with just under $94 million spent, iSpot.tv data show.

Spending on Trulicity, Eli Lilly’s GLP-1 once-weekly diabetes injectable, has already climbed quickly this year to nearly touch the $100 million mark. The Indianapolis drugmaker spent a total of just $57 million on Trulicity commercials for all of 2016, its first full year of TV advertising.

The TV ad spending rise mirrors Trulicity’s revenue growth, which has expanded steadily quarter over quarter since launch but jumped in the past year. Sales for the first quarter of 2017 were $296 million versus $119.4 million for the same quarter in 2016. The drug was ranked No. 10 on FiercePharma's list of diabetes best-sellers for 2016, with total sales of $738 million—versus just $208 million in 2015, when the med was approved but not heavily advertised on TV. Lilly launched its first TV ads in October 2015, after winning FDA approval the year prior.

For the month of June’s top 10 spenders, AbbVie’s Humira led the way again with $22.3 million, followed in order by Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Eliquis, Trulicity, and two Pfizer drugs, Xeljanz and Lyrica at Nos. 4 and 5. It was a quieter pharma TV month overall leading into summer, with total top 10 spending for June at its lowest for the year at $115 million.

1. Humira
Movement:
Stayed same
What is it? AbbVie anti-inflammatory drug
Total estimated spending: $22 million (same as $22 million in May)
Number of spots: 5 (2 for arthritis, 2 for ulcerative colitis/Crohn's, 1 for psoriasis)
Biggest-ticket ad: "Volunteering” for arthritis (est. $8.7 million)

2. Eliquis
Movement:
Up from No. 9
What is it? Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb next-gen anticoagulant
Total estimated spending: $16 million (up from $9.7 million in May)
Number of spots: 3
Biggest-ticket ad: “A Lot on My Mind” (est. $9.6 million)

3. Trulicity
Movement:
Up from No. 4
What is it? Eli Lilly GLP-1 diabetes drug
Total estimated spending: $12.6 million (down from $13.3 million in May)
Number of spots: 2
Biggest-ticket ad: “Restoration” (est. $8.1 million)

4. Xeljanz XR
Movement:
Not on list in May
What is it? Pfizer oral rheumatoid arthritis therapy
Total estimated spending: $10.9 million
Number of spots: 2
Biggest-ticket ad: "Birthday Puppy” (est. $5.5 million)

5. Lyrica
Movement:
Down from No. 2
What is it? Pfizer seizure and pain drug
Total estimated spending: $10.6 million (down from $15.8 million in May)
Number of spots: 6
Biggest-ticket ad: "More Active” (est. $4.4 million)

6. Invokana
Movement:
Up from No. 8
What is it? Johnson & Johnson SGLT2 diabetes drug
Total estimated spending: $9.3 million (down from $10.3 million in May)
Number of spots: 1
Biggest-ticket ad: “Choices”

7. Stelara
Movement:
Not on list in May
What is it? Johnson & Johnson anti-inflammatory drug
Total estimated spending: $8.8 million
Number of spots: 1
Biggest-ticket ad: “Which You”

8. Cialis
Movement:
Not on list in May
What is it? Eli Lilly erectile dysfunction treatment
Total estimated spending: $8.4 million
Number of spots: 1
Biggest-ticket ad: “A Moment Turns Romantic”

Cialis ads are not available through iSpot.tv.

9. Xarelto
Movement:
Not on list in May
What is it? Johnson & Johnson next-gen anticoagulant
Total estimated spending: $8.2 million
Number of spots: 2
Biggest-ticket ad: “Protect Themselves” (est. $6.5 million)

10. Farxiga
What is it?
AstraZeneca SGLT2 diabetes drug
Movement: Not on list in May
Total estimated spending: $8 million
Number of spots: 1
Biggest-ticket ad: “Listen Up”