Humira's reign as TV ad king is over as AbbVie shifts spending to Rinvoq and Skyrizi

watching TV
AbbVie is redistributing some of its Humira brand's big TV budget to its newer sibling brands, Rinvoq and Skyrizi. (Getty Images)

It’s the end of an era—for pharma TV advertising, anyway. Humira’s reign at the top of the TV ad spenders is over. 

AbbVie had been ratcheting back the brand’s TV budget over the past few months, but, in May, it stopped spending in arthritis and psoriasis altogether. That left $13 million in ads for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, only big enough for fourth place, according to data from real-time TV ad tracker iSpot.tv.

Of course, that doesn’t mean parent drugmaker Abbvie is giving up on TV advertising. Quite the opposite: Its next-generation treatments Rinvoq, for rheumatoid arthritis, and Skyrizi for psoriasis are on the list at Nos. 2 and 8, respectively.

The Humira marketing budget shift is by design and part of AbbVie’s brand portfolio marketing plans, Elaine Sorg, AbbVie senior vice president and head of U.S. commercial operations, told Fierce Pharma last year. AbbVie is purposefully moving its Humira ad budget to the newer generation Rinvoq and Skyrizi, she said. Humira itself will face U.S. biosimilar competition beginning in 2023.

That shift means that Sanofi and Regeneron’s anti-inflammatory Dupixent is No. 1 again, at least for now. The partnered drugmakers spent more than $25 million on national TV ads for the blockbuster, which is pulling in sales of about $1 billion every quarter.

At No. 3 is Novo Nordisk’s Rybelsus, which has been a strong TV ad spender since its DTC launch late last year.

Total spending for the top 10 pharma TV advertisers in May was $134 million, down from $140 million in May and $147 million in April.

1. Dupixent
Movement:
Stayed same
What is it? Regeneron and Sanofi IL-4 and IL-13 anti-inflammatory
Total estimated spending: $25.2 million (up from $24.1 million in May)
Number of spots: Five (Two for atopic dermatitis, three for asthma)
Biggest-ticket ad: “One Step Ahead” (est. $9.1 million)

2. Rinvoq
Movement:
Moved up from No. 5
What is it? AbbVie JAK inhibitor to treat rheumatoid arthritis
Total estimated spending: $18.6 million (up from $13 million in May)
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “Your Mission: Motorcycle” (est. $18.5 million)

3. Rybelsus
Movement:
Stayed same
What is it? Novo Nordisk oral GLP-1 diabetes med
Total estimated spending: $15.5 million (down from $17.4 million in May)
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “Wake Up to Possibilities” (est. $15.1 million)

4. Humira
Movement:
Down from No. 2
What is it? AbbVie anti-inflammatory drug
Total estimated spending: $13 million (down from $17.5 million in May)
Number of spots: Two (both for Crohn's and ulcerative colitis)
Biggest-ticket ad: “Recording Studio" (est. $8.9 million)

5. Jardiance
Movement:
Up from No. 10
What is it? Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim SGLT2 diabetes treatment
Total estimated spending: $12.6 million (up from $10.2 million in May)
Number of spots: Four
Biggest-ticket ad: “Hot Air Balloon: Savings Card” (est. $4.4 million)

6. Trulicity
Movement:
Down from No 4
What is it? Eli Lilly GLP-1 diabetes drug
Total estimated spending: $12.4 million (down from $13.9 million in May)
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “On His Game” (est. $9.5 million)

7. Ozempic
Movement:
Stayed same
What is it? Novo Nordisk GLP-1 diabetes med
Total estimated spending: $10.9 million (down from $11.1 million in May)
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “My Zone" featuring Billy Gardell

8. Skyrizi
Movement:
Stayed same
What is it? AbbVie IL-23 next-gen psoriasis treatment
Total estimated spending: $9.4 million (down from $10.6 million in May)
Number of spots: Two
Biggest-ticket ad: “Clear Skin” (est. $8.5 million)

9. Opdivo and Yervoy
Movement
: Not on list last month
What is it? Bristol Myers Squibb dual-immunotherapy regimen
Total estimated spending: $8.4 million
Number of spots: Two
Biggest-ticket ad: “A Chance for More Horizons” (est. $5.4 million)

10. Botox
Movement:
Not on list last month
What is it? AbbVie neurotoxin for migraine and aesthetic use
Total estimated spending: $8.3 million 
Number of spots: Four (Three for cosmetic, one for migraine)
Biggest-ticket ad: “You Power Through: $0” (est. $3 million)