Gilead jumps TV ad spend with baby boomer plea, joins regulars Humira and Lyrica in May's top 3

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Gilead jumped to the No. 3 spot behind Humira and Lyrica in May's pharma TV ad spending rankings.

Gilead’s baby boomer-targeting awareness push for hepatitis C put the company near the top of the list for May pharma company TV ad spending. The ad, launched in February, encourages boomers to get tested for hep C. Gilead, of course, is the maker of hep C treatments Sovaldi and Harvoni.

David Johnson, Gilead VP of U.S. sales and marketing for liver diseases, told FiercePharma at the time of the ad launch that it was part of the planned evolution of its disease awareness effort, meant to “reach a much broader audience once the pool of already diagnosed patients … had been treated.” Baby boomers have a higher incidence of hep C, and the CDC recommends testing.

Meanwhile, AbbVie’s Humira held onto the No. 1 spot again, with eight ads this month spanning its indications for arthritis, Crohn’s disease and colitis, and psoriasis. It was followed by Pfizer’s pain and seizure drug Lyrica.

It was a quieter month overall for the big spenders—only Humira cleared $20 million—and total top-10 spending dropped 15% to $127 million, down from $150 million in April.

The last four pharma brands in the top 10 are all returnees to the list for May and include Bristol-Myers Squibb's Opdivo, which bowed its third new TV ad for the PD-1 cancer fighter last month.

1. Humira
Movement: Stayed same
What is it? AbbVie anti-inflammatory drug
Total estimated spending: $22 million (down from $27 million in April)
Number of spots: 8 (2 for arthritis, 4 for ulcerative colitis/Crohn's, 2 for psoriasis)
Biggest-ticket ad: "Volunteering” for arthritis (est. $10.9 million)

2. Lyrica
Movement: Up from No. 3
What is it? Pfizer seizure and pain drug
Total estimated spending: $15.8 million (down from $18.2 million in April)
Number of spots: 4
Biggest-ticket ad: "More Active” (est. $9.1 million)

3. Gilead
Movement:
Not on list last month
What is it? Hep C awareness 
Total estimated spending: $13.3 million
Number of spots: 1
Biggest-ticket ad: “Let Go”

4. Trulicity
Movement:
Down from No. 2
What is it? Eli Lilly GLP-1 diabetes drug
Total estimated spending: $13.3 million (down from $20.8 million in April)
Number of spots: 3
Biggest-ticket ad: “Restoration” (est. $6.6 million)

5. Latuda
Movement:
Up from No. 7
What is it? Sunovion Pharmaceutical antipsychotic
Total estimated spending: $11.2 million (down from $12.3 million in April)
Number of spots: 1
Biggest-ticket ad: "Maya's Story"

6. Breo
Movement:
Down from No. 5
What is it? GlaxoSmithKline respiratory drug
Total estimated spending: $10.9 million (down from $12.4 million in April)
Number of spots: 3
Biggest-ticket ad: "Sam’s Tex Mex" (est. $5.7 million)

7. Opdivo
Movement:
Not on list in April
What is it: Bristol-Myers Squibb PD-1 cancer fighter
Total estimated spending: $10.3 million
Number of spots: 2
Biggest-ticket ad: “Most Prescribed Immunotherapy” (est. $9.6 million)

8. Invokana
Movement:
Not on list in April
What is it? J&J SGLT2 diabetes drug
Total estimated spending: $10.3 million
Number of spots: 2
Biggest-ticket ad: “Choices” (est. $10.2 million)

9. Eliquis
Movement:
Not on list in April
What is it? Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb anticoagulant
Total estimated spending: $9.7 million
Number of spots: 3
Biggest-ticket ad: “Go for My Best” (est. $4.9 million)

10. Linzess
Movement: Not on list in April
What is it? Actavis and Ironwood GI medication
Total estimated spending: $9.5 million
Number of spots: 2
Biggest-ticket ad: “Had Enough” (est. $4.8 million)