Sanofi and Regeneron's high-flying Dupixent tops May pharma TV spending, trading places with AbbVie's Humira

watching TV
AbbVie and Sanofi, Regeneron continued to spend the most money on national TV ads in May.(Getty Images)

In the pharma TV ad race, Dupixent and Humira are trading the top spending spots—again.

Sanofi and Regeneron’s asthma and eczema drug climbed back to No. 1 in May, while AbbVie’s blockbuster anti-inflammatory dropped again to second, according to data from real-time TV ad tracker iSpot.tv.

Humira was followed closely by Novo Nordisk's next-gen diabetes med, Rybelsus, which launched DTC advertising late last year. Its TV ads, with versions in English and Spanish, feature eye-catching animations and a hip, punk version of the song “You Are My Sunshine.”

Dupixent’s push to the top was aided by the debut of a new commercial in May. Real patients star in the ad, although they initially blend into the background—wearing a striped robe against a striped towel or a flowered jacket in front of a flowering bush, for instance. As one patient takes off her jacket, she says: “Hide my skin? Not me.”

Pfizer’s Xeljanz returned to the top 10 spending list along with Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic and its ongoing campaign with actor and Type 2 diabetes patient Billy Gardell. Pfizer ran three ads during the month for its oral rheumatoid arthritis med, including new creative that continues its long-running theme “Made for Better Things.”

Every brand in the top 10 spent at least $10 million in national media in May, according to iSpot. The total spending for the top 10 pharma TV advertisers was $140 million, down slightly from the $147 million and $148 million totals for April and March, respectively.

1. Dupixent
Movement: Up from No. 2
What is it? Regeneron and Sanofi IL-4 and IL-13 anti-inflammatory
Total estimated spending: $24.1 million (up from $20.2 million in April)
Number of spots: 10 (Six for atopic dermatitis, four for asthma)
Biggest-ticket ad: “One Step Ahead” (est. $9.3 million)

2. Humira
Movement: Down from No. 1
What is it? AbbVie anti-inflammatory drug
Total estimated spending: $17.5 million (down from $22.6 million in April)
Number of spots: Four (One for arthritis/psoriasis, three for ulcerative colitis/Crohn's)
Biggest-ticket ad: “Body of Proof: Drums” with COVID help message (est. $9 million)

3. Rybelsus
Movement: Stayed same
What is it? Novo Nordisk oral GLP-1 diabetes med
Total estimated spending: $17.4 million (down from $18.6 million in April)
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “Wake Up to Possibilities” (est. $15.5 million)

4. Trulicity
Movement: Stayed same
What is it? Eli Lilly GLP-1 diabetes drug
Total estimated spending: $13.9 million (down from $14.7 million in April)
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “On His Game” (est. $13.2 million)

5. Rinvoq
Movement: Stayed same
What is it? AbbVie JAK inhibitor to treat RA
Total estimated spending: $13 million (down from $13.3 million April)
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “Your Mission: Motorcycle” (est. $12.8 million)

6. Rexulti
Movement: Up from No. 10
What is it? Otsuka and Lundbeck antipsychotic
Total estimated spending: $11.7 million (up from $11 million April)
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “Masking” (est. $5.9 million)

7. Ozempic
Movement: Not on list last month
What is it? Novo Nordisk GLP-1 diabetes med
Total estimated spending: $11.1 million
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “My Zone”

8. Skyrizi
Movement: Down from No. 6
What is it? AbbVie IL-23 next-gen psoriasis treatment
Total estimated spending: $10.6 million (down from $12.2 million in April)
Number of spots: Two
Biggest-ticket ad: “Clear Skin” (est. $9.4 million)

9. Xeljanz
Movement: Not on list last month
What is it? Pfizer oral rheumatoid arthritis therapy
Total estimated spending: $10.3 million
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “Morning Raking” (est. $3.7 million)

10. Jardiance
Movement: Down from No. 8
What is it? Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim SGLT2 diabetes treatment
Total estimated spending: $10.2 million (down from $11.4 million in April)
Number of spots: Five
Biggest-ticket ad: “Hot Air Balloon: Savings Card” (est. $5.7 million)