Pharma TV buys so far top last year's $1B spend; AbbVie, Pfizer lead September

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Pharma TV spending continues to rise in 2018 with spending tracking more than 10% ahead of last year's total outlay. (3dman_eu/CC0 Creative Commons)

Call it blockbuster TV ad spending. With three quarters down and one to go, national media buys are tracking ahead of last year. The top 10 brands dropped $1.19 billion through Sept. 30, according to data from real-time TV ad tracker iSpot.tv—and that's a 12% increase over the $1.07 million spent so far last year.

Total spending across the 70 or so pharma brands that bought any national TV time this year also saw double-digit growth. Those brands together shelled out $2.81 billion, up 11% over last year.

Meanwhile, for the month of September, AbbVie’s Humira held on to No. 1, followed by Pfizer’s Lyrica and its Bristol-Myers Squibb-partnered Eliquis in second and third place. Pharma's top 10 TV brands paid out $139 million in September, following the downward trajectory that's been in place since the end of June.

One newcomer to the list was Allergan’s antipsychotic Vraylar, which began TV ads in April with a “house of cards” metaphor for the manic side of bipolar disease. In September, it added a new commercial continuing the theme, this time featuring a man gardening in the middle of the night. As the camera pulls back, he's shown working atop the same shaky house of cards.

Truvada jumped back on the list after a month off, with the same provocative “On the Pill” TV ad for the pre-exposure HIV prophylaxis indication that helped it make the list in July. Once again, the ad got a heavy rotation in September over a few weeks and then dropped off, according to iSpot’s data.

1. Humira
Movement:
Stayed same
What is it? AbbVie anti-inflammatory drug
Total estimated spending: $26.5 million (up from $25.9 million in August)
Number of spots: Seven (Three for arthritis, three for ulcerative colitis/Crohn's, two for psoriasis)
Biggest-ticket ad: “Your Wake-Up Call ” for arthritis (est. $6.7 million)

2. Lyrica
Movement:
Stayed the same
What is it? Pfizer seizure and pain drug
Total estimated spending: $21.2 million (up from $20.6 million in August)
Number of spots: Six
Biggest-ticket ad: “Firefighter” (est. $6.9 million)

3. Eliquis
Movement: Up from No. 8
What is it? Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb anticoagulant
Total estimated spending: $17.4 million (up from $9 million in August)
Number of spots: Two
Biggest-ticket ad: “Around the Corner” (est. $13.3 million)

4. Trulicity
Movement: Up from No. 5
What is it? Eli Lilly GLP-1 diabetes drug
Total estimated spending: $12.7 million (up from $14.9 million in August)
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “Do More: Firefighter” (est. $12.4 million)

5. Xeljanz
Movement: Down from No. 3
What is it? Pfizer oral rheumatoid arthritis therapy
Total estimated spending: $12.1 million (down from $17.7 million in August)
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “Cactus” (est. $5.2 million)

6. Truvada
Movement:
Not on list last month
What is it? Gilead’s HIV and PrEP drug
Total estimated spending: $10.44 million
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “On the Pill”

7. Vraylar
Movement:
Not on list last month
What is it? Allergan antipsychotic drug
Total estimated spending: $10.43 million
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “Nighttime Yard Work” (est. $5.9 million)

8. Otezla
Movement:
Down from No. 7
What is it? Celgene's oral treatment for plaque psoriasis
Total estimated spending: $9.8 million (up from $12.4 million in August)
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “Little Things Can Be a Big Deal”

[Editor's Note: Ad not available on iSpot.tv by request of advertiser.]

9. Jardiance
Movement:
Up from No. 10
What is it? Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim SGLT2 diabetes treatment
Total estimated spending: $9.3 million (up from $8.7 million in August)
Number of spots: Two
Biggest-ticket ad: “What Matters to You” (est. $6.1 million)

10. Xarelto
Movement:
Down from No. 6
What is it? Johnson & Johnson next-gen anticoagulant
Total estimated spending: $9 million (down from $12.9 million in August)
Number of spots: Two
Biggest-ticket ad: “Selective” (est. $4.8 million)

 

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