Novo Nordisk's Ozempic spends big on TV in August but still trails AbbVie, Pfizer big guns

watching tv
TV viewers in August got more Humira, Lyrica and Xarelto commercial breaks, but newcomer Type 2 diabetes drug Ozempic also showed up. (iStock)

Pharma's summer TV advertising ended with the same old story for the most part, but a new drug on the top-10 list might be taking the place of one of its siblings. Diabetes therapy Ozempic's TV ads, launched by Novo Nordisk in late July, earned the No. 4 spot in monthly media spending tallies by real-time TV ad tracker iSpot.tv for August, even as commercials for Novo's older GLP-1 drug, Victoza, stopped.

Victoza had become a reliable big TV spender in the past few years, but data from iSpot.tv showed no Victoza ads have aired since July 23. Since January 2015, Novo Nordisk spent more than $325 million on national TV media to promote Victoza, according to iSpot.tv.

While the Victoza TV ad pause may be only temporary as Ozempic gets off the ground, Novo is counting on the newer weekly GLP-1 to catch the baton for the older, daily Victoza. Eli Lilly's weekly GLP-1 injection, Trulicity, is Ozempic's biggest competition, with substantial head start on the market and a 40% share. But Novo isn’t resting yet: Its oral GLP-1 candidate, semaglutide, is earmarked for an upcoming FDA decision and, if approved, would enter the race as the first oral treatment in that category. 

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In other August TV pharma ad spending, AbbVie’s Humira stayed in the top spot, followed by Pfizer’s Lyrica and Xeljanz, which also held their same respective spots. Spending on all three was down for August, though.

Total top-10 pharma ad spending on TV media dipped in August to $149 million, down from $165 million in July and $155 million in June.

1. Humira
Movement:
Stayed same
What is it? AbbVie anti-inflammatory drug
Total estimated spending: $25.9 million (down from $38.7 million in July)
Number of spots: Seven (Two for arthritis, three for ulcerative colitis/Crohn's, two for psoriasis)
Biggest-ticket ad: “Your Wake-Up Call ” for arthritis (est. $10.6 million)

2. Lyrica
Movement:
Stayed same
What is it? Pfizer seizure and pain drug
Total estimated spending: $20.6 million (down from $25.7 million in July)
Number of spots: Six
Biggest-ticket ad: “Lake Home” (est. $7.2 million)

3. Xeljanz
Movement:
Stayed same
What is it? Pfizer oral rheumatoid arthritis therapy
Total estimated spending: $17.7 million (down from $25.5 million in July)
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “Biking” (est. $6.3 million)

4. Ozempic
Movement:
Not on list last month
What is it? Novo Nordisk GLP-1 weekly injectible
Total estimated spending: $14.9 million
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “Oh!”

5. Trulicity
Movement:
Stayed same
What is it? Eli Lilly GLP-1 diabetes drug
Total estimated spending: $14.9 million (up from $14.4 million in July)
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “Do More: Firefighter” (est. $6.3 million)

6. Xarelto
Movement:
Down from No. 4
What is it? Johnson & Johnson next-gen anticoagulant
Total estimated spending: $12.9 million (down from $15 million in June)
Number of spots: Two
Biggest-ticket ad: “Learn All You Can” (est. $7.5 million)

7. Otezla
Movement:
Stayed same
What is it? Celgene's oral treatment for plaque psoriasis
Total estimated spending: $12.4 million (up from $10.9 million in June)
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “Little Things Can Be a Big Deal”

(Ad not available by Celgene's request.)

8. Eliquis
Movement:
Not on list last month
What is it? Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb anticoagulant
Total estimated spending: $9 million
Number of spots: Two
Biggest-ticket ad: “What’s Next” (est. $7 million)

9. Verzenio
Movement:
Down from No. 8
What is it? Eli Lilly breast cancer drug
Total estimated spending: $8.9 million (down from $10.4 million in June)
Number of spots: Two
Biggest-ticket ad: “Relentless” (est. $8 million)

10. Jardiance
Movement:
Stayed same
What is it? Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim SGLT2 diabetes treatment
Total estimated spending: $8.7 million (up from $7.7 million in July)
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “What Matters to You”

 

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