Bayer's Aleve and GSK's Flonase top list of OTC TV ad spenders for 2015

In a head-to-head prescription versus over-the-counter drug battle, prescription wins. At least when it comes to advertising.

TV ad spending for the top 10 prescription drugs tallied $876.3 million, while over-the-counter spending among the top 10 brands totaled just $514 million for TV ads in 2015, according to data collected by real-time TV ad tracker

Bayer's pain reliever Aleve topped the OTC list with almost $75 million in TV spending. Aleve also had the highest number of different TV spots as well with 23 creative executions running in 2015. GlaxoSmithKline's ($GSK) Flonase at No. 2 was no surprise after the drug went off patent and GSK went on an aggressive push to keep the brand thriving through the spring allergy season. It seemed effective, because GSK reported an 8% increase in its consumer healthcare division for the first quarter, noting the benefits in particular from the launch of Flonase OTC.

Cough, cold, flu and allergy remedies dominated the list, in fact, with six of the top 10 falling into that category which generates about $8 billion in revenue annually. Pain relievers Aleve, Pfizer's ($PFE) Advil and Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) Tylenol helped round out the list, along with the lone gastro OTC remedy Nexium. Pfizer bought Nexium OTC rights from AstraZeneca ($AZN), which still sells the original brand.

The top 10 OTC list by estimated TV media spending by for 2015 follows:

1. Aleve (Bayer): $74.5 million
2. Flonase (GlaxoSmithKline): $73.1 million
3. Claritin (Merck): $58.4 million
4. Advil (Pfizer): $58.3 million
5. Nasacort (Sanofi): $50.3 million
6. Alka-Seltzer (Bayer): $49 million
7. Allegra (Sanofi): $43.8 million
8. Tylenol (J&J): $37 million
9. Nexium (Pfizer): $36.3 million
10. Zyrtec (J&J): $33.1 million

- see the FiercePharmaMarketing story and list of top 10 prescription DTC spenders

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