Goodbye to Lyrica ads? Big TV spender drops off top 10 list in October

TV watcher image
Humira led the big pharma TV ad spender list in October, but familiar No. 2 Lyrica dropped off. (3dman_eu/CC0 Creative Commons)

Is Pfizer’s Lyrica leaving the TV ad game? Facing patent expiration at the end of the year, the stalwart top 10 TV spender dropped its budget to just $3.8 million in October, according to data from real-time TV ad tracker iSpot.tv. That marks a steep decline from the give-or-take $20 million per month it has typically spent.

In the three years since FiercePharma began tracking pharma spending, Lyrica has consistently ranked in the No. 2 spot behind AbbVie’s Humira in national TV ad spending among drugmakers. Pfizer spent $216 million on Lyrica TV ads in 2017, according to iSpot, second only to Humira's $341 million.

However, it’s not uncommon for branded drugmakers to stop mainstream media advertising as they face patent protection loss and generic competition. Pfizer, for instance, spent $97.9 million on Viagra TV ads in 2016, according to iSpot, before dropping to $0 in June 2017 in the face of generic competition for the erectile dysfunction treatment later that year. Competitor Eli Lilly’s Cialis had a similar story. Lilly spent $85.8 million in 2016 before halting TV ads in August 2017.

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Lyrica, approved in 2004, was among Pfizer's best-selling products last year, with U.S. sales of $3.46 billion. Pfizer recently won FDA approval for Lyrica CR, a once-daily tablet extended-release version that could attract some patients and may warrant advertising. It is approved to treat pain caused by shingles or diabetic peripheral neuropathy, but not fibromyalgia like the original.

Of course, for every drug that drops off the list, there is another ramping up TV spending. This month that was Trulicity, Lilly’s GLP-1 diabetes drug, which tallied $23.2 million for October, almost double its September spend of $12.7 million.

Sunovion’s Latuda and Merck’s Keytruda rejoined the top 10 spenders in October at No. 3 and No. 4, with Sunovion launching a new commercial and Merck reviving a former one to move up the chart. Prevnar 13 from Pfizer was also back on the list with seasonal spending putting it at No. 6.

Overall TV ad spending by pharma was robust in October, with the top 10 spending $164 million, up from $139 million in September.

1. Humira
Movement:
Stayed same
What is it? AbbVie anti-inflammatory drug
Total estimated spending: $30.2 million (up from $26.5 million in September)
Number of spots: Nine (Four for arthritis, three for ulcerative colitis/Crohn's, two for psoriasis)
Biggest-ticket ad: “Body of Proof ” for arthritis (est. $10.3 million)

2. Trulicity
Movement:
Up from No. 4
What is it? Eli Lilly GLP-1 diabetes drug
Total estimated spending: $23.2 million (up from $12.7 million in September)
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “Do More: Firefighter” (est. $21.9 million)



3. Latuda
Movement:
Not on list last month
What is it? Sunovion Pharmaceutical antipsychotic
Total estimated spending: $17 million
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “Lauren’s Story”



4. Keytruda
Movement:
Not on list last month
What is it? Merck’s PD-1 cancer fighter
Total estimated spending: $16.6 million
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “It’s TRU: Roger’s story”



5. Xeljanz
Movement:
Stayed same
What is it? Pfizer oral rheumatoid arthritis therapy
Total estimated spending: $16.1 million (up from $12.1 million in September)
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “Cactus” (est. $6.8 million)



6. Prevnar 13
Movement:
Not on list last month
What is it? Pfizer's pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine
Total estimated spending: $13.9 million
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “Don’t Miss Out on Life” (est. $5.9 million)



7. Otezla
Movement:
Up from No. 8
What is it? Celgene's oral treatment for plaque psoriasis
Total estimated spending: $13.4 million (up from $9.8 million in September)
Number of spots: Two
Biggest-ticket ad: “Little Things Can Be a Big Deal” (est. $9.6 million)

(TV ad not available at request of advertiser)

8. Eliquis
Movement:
Down from No. 3
What is it? Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb anticoagulant
Total estimated spending: $11.39 million (down from $17.4 million in September)
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “What’s Next?” (est. $5.8 million)



9. Dupixent
Movement:
New to list
What is it? Regeneron and Sanofi's atopic dermatitis injectable
Total estimated spending: $11.38 million
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “From Within”



10. Enbrel
Movement:
Not on list last month
What is it? Amgen and Pfizer anti-inflammatory
Total estimated spending: $10.4 million
Number of spots: Four
Biggest-ticket ad: “My Mom’s Pain: Girl” (est. $5.5 million)