AbbVie keeps May TV focus on Humira, while Gilead spends big on HIV drugs

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TV viewers are still seeing lots of AbbVie Humira commercials, even as the drugmaker looks to acquire Allergan. (3dman_eu)

Will AbbVie back off Humira advertising now that it’s announced it will buy Allergan? Maybe. But for now, the Illinois drugmaker is showing no signs of slowing its long-running robust TV ad push for the world's best-selling drug.

AbbVie blasted the nearest competing pharma TV ad by dropping $47.5 million last month, topping the second-closest spender by more than $20 million, according to data from real-time TV ad tracker iSpot.tv. Gilead Sciences came in second in May, spending $26.8 million on ads for HIV treatment and prevention drug Truvada as part of its ongoing TV campaign.

Both drugmakers are under the gun facing patent expirations, with Truvada's in 2020 and Humira's in 2023, although biosimilars for Humira are already on the market in Europe.

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Another repeat on the list for May was a second Gilead HIV treatment, the three-drug regimen Biktarvy, at No. 9 with its diversity campaign launched in April.

Also on the list again was Celgene’s Otezla, although maybe not for long: Bristol-Myers Squibb announced this week that as part of an agreement with the FTC over its buyout of Celgene, it will sell off the psoriasis blockbuster.

Overall, TV ad spending for the pharma top 10 increased to $177 million in May, up from $168 million spent in April and $169 million in March, according to iSpot.tv data. 

1. Humira
Movement:
Stayed same
What is it? AbbVie anti-inflammatory drug
Total estimated spending: $47.5 million (up from $45.8 million in April)
Number of spots: 11 (Six for arthritis, three for ulcerative colitis/Crohn's, two for psoriasis)
Biggest-ticket ad: “Citrate Free” (est. $10.9 million)



2. Truvada
Movement:
Not on list last month
What is it? Gilead’s HIV and PrEP drug
Total estimated spending: $26.8 million
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “On the Pill”



3. Xeljanz
Movement:
Down from No. 2
What is it? Pfizer oral RA and ulcerative colitis med
Total estimated spending: $21.1 million (down from $25.8 million in April)
Number of spots: Four
Biggest-ticket ad: “A Different Direction” (est. $11.1 million)



4. Latuda
Movement:
Moved up from No. 5
What is it? Sunovion Pharmaceutical anti-psychotic
Total estimated spending: $14.2 million (up from $12.9 million in April)
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “Lauren’s Story”



5. Eliquis
Movement:
Moved up from No. 6
What is it? Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb next-gen anticoagulant
Total estimated spending: $13.4 million (up from $11.3 million in April)
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “Around the Corner” (est. $6.3 million)



6. Xarelto
Movement:
Not on list last month
What is it? Johnson & Johnson next-gen anticoagulant
Total estimated spending: $12.8 million
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “Not Today” (est. $7.5 million)



7. Emgality
Movement:
Moved down from No. 4
What is it? Eli Lilly anti-CGRP migraine treatment
Total estimated spending: $12.4 million (down from $15.1 million in April)\
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “Pirates”



8. Taltz
Movement:
Stayed same
What is it? Eli Lilly next-gen psoriasis treatment
Total estimated spending: $10.8 million (down from $10.6 million in April)
Number of spots: Four
Biggest-ticket ad: “Moving” (est. $3.4 million)



9. Biktarvy
Movement:
Moved down from No. 3
What is it? Gilead Sciences HIV 3-in-1 combo med
Total estimated spending: $9.6 million (down from $18.2 million in April)
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “Keep Being You”



10. Otezla
Movement:
Stayed same
What is it? Celgene's oral treatment for plaque psoriasis
Total estimated spending: $8.3 million (down from $12.4 million in April)
Number of spots: Two
Biggest-ticket ad: “Summer Days” ($5.6 million)

 

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