AbbVie drops Humira TV spend; Sanofi and Regeneron, Novo Nordisk step up on March pharma list

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TV viewers saw fewer Humira commercials in March, but returning top spenders included Eli Lilly and BI's Jardiance and J&J's Tremfya.(Getty Images)

AbbVie’s Humira dropped out of the top spot on the pharma TV ad spenders list in March for the first time in years. Sanofi and Regeneron’s Dupixent took over the No. 1 position, followed by Novo Nordisk’s Rybelsus, leaving Humira in third place, according to data from real-time TV ad tracker iSpot.tv.

Humira’s downward move has been in the works; spending has been declining over the past few months as AbbVie re-directed some of Humira’s advertising budget from the longtime blockbuster to its new generation of immunology products in rheumatoid arthritis Rinvoq and psoriasis med Skyrizi.

AbbVie shifted advertising and salesforce resources to help boost the newer brands, Elaine Sorg, U.S. head of immunology, said in an interview with Fierce in November.

Other brands back on the list for March were Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim’s Type 2 diabetes drug Jardiance, and Johnson & Johnson’s psoriatic disease med Tremfya. While Jardiance continues its “on it” theme for patients around reducing heart attack and stroke risk, J&J debuted a new set of ads for its psoriatic arthritis and plaque psoriasis treatment.

The new Janssen division ad campaign takes a darker tone, aiming to reflect the real-life pain and struggles of patients with the conditions.

Overall spending may be normalizing after a spendy six months. Total spending for the top 10 pharma TV advertisers in March was $148 million, down from the February total of $165 million, but similar to last March’s $156 million and February’s $149 million, according to the iSpot.tv data.

However, with the advertising market in general still in flux thanks to the pandemic, it’s likely to take months or even longer to settle into any kind of new normal media buying—stay tuned. 

1. Dupixent


Movement: Up from No. 2


What is it? Regeneron and Sanofi's IL-4 and IL-13-blocking anti-inflammatory


Total estimated spending: $24 million (up from $20.2 million in February)


Number of spots: Six (Three for atopic dermatitis, three for asthma)


Biggest-ticket ad: “Roll Up Your Sleeves: Shawn, Ore and Jennifer” (est. $10.2 million)


2. Rybelsus


Movement: Up from No. 3


What is it? Novo Nordisk oral GLP-1 diabetes med


Total estimated spending: $19.9 million (up from $18.7 million in February)


Number of spots: Three


Biggest-ticket ad: “Wake Up to Possibilities” (est. $10.9 million)


3. Humira


Movement: Down from No. 1


What is it? AbbVie anti-inflammatory drug
Total estimated spending: $19.6 million (down from $22.6 million in February)


Number of spots: Three (One for arthritis/psoriasis, two for ulcerative colitis/Crohn's)


Biggest-ticket ad: “Body of Proof: Drums” with COVID help message (est. $7.6 million)


4. Trulicity


Movement: Up from No. 5 last month


What is it? Eli Lilly GLP-1 diabetes drug


Total estimated spending: $17.1 million (up slightly from $17 million in February)


Number of spots: Four


Biggest-ticket ad: “Truly Powerful: Hotel Manager” (est. $12 million)


5. Xeljanz


Movement: Up from No. 6 last month


What is it? Pfizer oral rheumatoid arthritis therapy


Total estimated spending: $13.6 million (down from $16.4 million in February)


Number of spots: Three


Biggest-ticket ad: “Pine Needles” (est. $7.7 million)

 


6. Rinvoq
Movement: 
Up from No. 9
What is it? AbbVie JAK inhibitor to treat RA
Total estimated spending: $12.2 million (up slightly from $12 million in February)
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “Your Mission: Zipline” (est. $10.6 million)


7. Ozempic


Movement: Up from No. 10


What is it? Novo Nordisk GLP-1 diabetes med


Total estimated spending: $10.8 million (down from $11.7 million in February)


Number of spots: One


Biggest-ticket ad: “My Zone (featuring Billy Gardell)”


8. Jardiance
Movement: Not on the list last month
What is it? Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim SGLT2 diabetes treatment
Total estimated spending: $10.5 million


Number of spots: Five
Biggest-ticket ad: “Community Garden” (est. $4.9 million)


9. Enbrel


Movement: Down from No. 8


What is it? Amgen’s TNF inhibitor to treat autoimmune diseases


Total estimated spending: $9.98 million (down from $12.2 million in February)


Number of spots: One


Biggest-ticket ad: “Erin & Margo”


10. Tremfya


Movement: Not on the list last month


What is it? Johnson & Johnson IL-23 inhibitor psoriatic disease treatment


Total estimated spending: $9.97 million


Number of spots: Two


Biggest-ticket ad: “Emerge: $5 per dose” (est. $8 million)