AbbVie's latest hep C push highlights Mavyret's time-to-cure advantage

AbbVie's Mavyret, which recently launched its first DTC ad campaign, took the hep C market by storm this year, blowing forecasts out of the water. (AbbVie)

AbbVie is pushing its time-to-cure advantage in new ads for hepatitis C treatment Mavyret. Its TV ads emphasize a cure “in only 8 weeks,” with actors who portray patients repeating the phrase as they tell their individual stories. A green on-screen box declares Mavyret “the only 8-week cure” as a narrator says the same.

Other new combination hep C drugs, such as Gilead Sciences' Epclusa and Vosevi, have longer treatment courses of 12 weeks.

The ads also point out a potential cost advantage. On-screen text reads, “Mavyret is covered by most insurance plans” with an end-screen note that patients may “pay as little as $5 per month.”

AbbVie has spent more than $13 million on TV media since the ads began in October, according to data from real-time TV ad tracker An AbbVie spokeswoman said in an email that the campaign is running on TV and in print and online media.

RELATED: AbbVie blows hepatitis C forecasts out of the water as Mavyret snaps up share

The pan-genotypic hep C drug was approved in August 2017, but it has quickly amped up sales and grabbed market share from drugs already in the category thanks to its shorter duration treatment and lower cost. AbbVie has already recorded $2.3 billion in sales this year just through the first nine months for the blockbuster.

Mavyret’s most recent quarterly revenue haul was $839 million, but that followed an unexpected gangbuster second quarter with sales of $919 million, a 249% increase over the first quarter. The company most recently inked a deal with the Medicines Patent Pool to boost access to the drug in nearly 100 low- and middle-income countries and territories.

The AbbVie spokeswoman said the new DTC campaign, which the company calls “Face the Cure,” is meant to empower patients to “prioritize hep C treatment in their lives.”

“This campaign addresses barriers that diagnosed chronic hepatitis C (hep C) patients may live with, and the significance of curing their hep C and getting on with life,” she said. “Throughout the campaign, patients have a chance to connect with authentic, real-life scenarios that demonstrate the impact of a cure.”

Mavyret’s gains have come at the expense of Gilead Sciences’ Harvoni and Solvadi, which once dominated the market. After netting billions in sales in the first few years on the market, Gilead's hep C drug sales have now dwindled, thanks to net prices that have spiraled downward by 60% over the past five years.

Harvoni in particular was also a big TV advertiser, but according to data from iSpot, the brand has mostly discontinued running TV ads since August.