AbbVie keeps TV ad lead in July, Roche and Pfizer follow in mildly curbed pharma TV market

watching TV
Pharma TV advertising continued to slow slightly in July, with lowered budgets by many brands. (Getty Images)

As both summer and the pandemic wear on, pharma TV advertising may have settled into a groove. That is, TV spending came in slightly lower than usual year over year again in July, but the industry's totals didn't dip nearly as much as those in other industries.

Spending among the top 10 pharma advertisers was $136 million, down 5% from last July’s $144 million, according to real-time TV ad tracker iSpot.tv. That’s a mild contraction compared with expert predictions of 20% or more. Ad buyers expect overall 2020 TV advertising spend to decline by one-fifth from last year because of COVID-19’s economic impact, according to an IAB study in June.

While some pharma brands dial down TV spending, others have been willing to step up in what has been an ongoing trend through the pandemic to date.

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For instance, while AbbVie's Rinvoq dropped back, Roche’s multiple sclerosis drug Ocrevus jumped up to No. 2 on the list with a TV commercial, “Dear MS,” that debuted in the fall, according to iSpot.tv data.

Roche's move may be fueled in part by the already crowded multiple sclerosis market heating up. Bristol Myers Squibb nabbed FDA approval for Zeposia in May, while Mylan got FDA approval for the first MS oral generic of Biogen’s Tecfidera just last week. Wednesday, Mylan said it was launching the copycat med in spite of pending legal action from Biogen.

AbbVie retained its top TV spending spot in July, although its budget dropped, down more than 40% to $34 million for the month. It also cut down the number of spots it ran to three.

Overall, the top 10 pharma brands spent $136 million in July, down from $141 million in June and $149 million in May.

1. Humira
Movement: Stayed same
What is it? AbbVie anti-inflammatory drug
Total estimated spending: $34.1 million (down from $44.3 million in June)
Number of spots: Three (one for arthritis/psoriasis, two for ulcerative colitis/Crohn's)
Biggest-ticket ad: “Body of Proof: Bicycling, Painting, Traveling” (est. $17.8 million)

 

2. Ocrevus
Movement: Not on list last month
What is it? Roche multiple sclerosis drug
Total estimated spending: $16.2 million
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “Dear MS"

*Ad not available on iSpot.tv

3. Xeljanz
Movement: Stayed same
What is it? Pfizer oral rheumatoid arthritis therapy
Total estimated spending: $15.5 million (up from $12.5 million in June)
Number of spots: Two
Biggest-ticket ad: "Needles: Sewing" (est. $8 million)


Eliquis
Movement: Up from No. 8
What is it? Pfizer and Bristol Myers Squibb next-gen anticoagulant
Total estimated spending: $13.2 million (up from $9.3 million in June)
Number of spots: Four
Biggest-ticket ad: “What’s Next” (est. $4.1 million)


5. Dupixent
Movement: Down from No. 2
What is it? Regeneron and Sanofi's atopic dermatitis and asthma treatment
Total estimated spending: $11.1 million (down from $13.1 million in June)
Number of spots: Two (one for atopic dermatitis, one for asthma)
Biggest-ticket ad: “Roll Up Your Sleeves: Financial Situation” (est. $5.7 million)


6. Descovy
Movement: Down from No. 5
What is it? Gilead Sciences next-gen PrEP HIV drug
Total estimated spending: $10.7 million (down from $11.3 million in June)
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “Prep Up”


7. Trulicity
Movement: Down from No. 4
What is it? Eli Lilly GLP-1 diabetes drug
Total estimated spending: $10.2 million (down from $11.5 million in June)
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “Power: Day of Work: $25 Savings” (est. $8.9 million)


8. Skyrizi
Movement: Up from No. 10
What is it? AbbVie IL-23 next-gen psoriasis treatment
Total estimated spending: $10 million (up from $8.8 million in June)
Number of spots: Four
Biggest-ticket ad: “Swimming” (est. $3.4 million)

9. Rexulti
Movement: Not on list last month
What is it? Otsuka and Lundbeck antipsychotic
Total estimated spending: $7.4 million
Number of spots: Two
Biggest-ticket ad: “I’m Fine: Savings Card” (est. $4.6 million)


10. Ozempic
Movement: Down from No. 6
What is it? Novo Nordisk GLP-1 diabetes med
Total estimated spending: $7.2 million (down from $10.8 million in June)
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “Photographer”