Pfizer bows first Ibrance TV spot as Novartis revs up with rival breast cancer med Kisqali

Pfizer's Ibrance racked up more than $2 billion in 2016 sales.

Pfizer has launched its first TV ad for breast cancer drug Ibrance, joining a larger mainstream push for cancer drugs in TV ads and coming hot on the heels of the FDA approval of Novartis' first-ever in-class competitor.

The new Ibrance TV ad focuses on a metastatic breast cancer patient’s “new normal.” Julie, a woman living with metastatic breast cancer, is shown going about her day—having breakfast with her family, teaching a class, going to a support group, and walking her dog—all part of an ordinary day that she’s glad to have.

Pfizer developed the ad concept with information gathered from 300 metastatic and early breast cancer patients and caregivers, 200 healthcare providers and 400 general consumers as well as several metastatic breast cancer advocacy groups, a spokeswoman said via email.

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“Since the launch of Ibrance, Pfizer has been committed to ensuring patients have access to information about Ibrance through print ads, websites, banner ads and targeted videos in select oncologists’ offices. To date, we have seen improvements in awareness of Ibrance, leading to an increase in discussions between patients and their physicians. We hope the TV ad continues to improve awareness and increase patient/physician conversations,” she said.

Pfizer will also continue its "MBC Together" online program, which includes testimonials from patients currently taking Ibrance, with the aim of creating a supportive environment for patients to share personal experiences.

RELATED: With Novartis' Kisqali, Pfizer faces its first in-class threat for Ibrance

After winning its first approval in early 2015, Ibrance only just picked up a head-to-head rival; Novartis’ Kisqali became the second approved CDK 4/6 inhibitor treatment with its thumbs-up in March. Both drugs are used in the treatment of some women with metastatic breast cancer, although Pfizer has indicated it’s trying to expand Ibrance’s potential use via trials in early, advanced, and recurrent breast cancer, as well as through studies outside of breast cancer, in areas like pancreatic and head and neck cancer. Eli Lilly has lined up its own competitor, abemaciclib, which is currently in phase 3 studies. Ibrance sales were $2.14 billion last year, while analysts predict Kisqali will fetch $1.6 billion in sales by 2022.

The Ibrance TV effort also makes it the third modern-day cancer drug to turn to mainstream television to reach its audience. Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo kicked off the trend in 2015 and has since spent more than $177 million on national airings of two TV ads, according to data from real-time TV ad tracker The PDL-1 inhibitor is approved to treat non-small cell lung cancer, metastatic melanoma, renal cell carcinoma and classical Hodgkin lymphoma. Merck’s Keytruda followed its competitor to TV in February, and it's spent more than $58 million since then on one national TV ad, according to data.

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