Sun Pharmaceuticals just debuted its first TV ad for psoriasis treatment Ilumya, but it should come as no surprise. National TV campaigns are now table stakes in the crowded psoriasis category.
Beginning in 2012 with anti-TNF treatments Johnson & Johnson’s Stelara and AbbVie’s Humira, then in 2013 Amgen and Pfizer’s Enbrel, almost every psoriasis biologic has launched with national TV advertising.
The wave of next-gen psoriasis drugs—and the hot competition they've spawned—have brought a raft of new ads with them. Celgene’s Otezla, Novartis’ Cosentyx, Eli Lilly’s Taltz and Johnson & Johnson's Tremfya all launched with big TV campaigns. The one exception was Bausch Health’s Siliq, the third-to-market IL-17 inhibitor when it was approved in 2017 (and when Bausch was still known as Valeant).
Ilumya, approved last March, is an IL-23 inhibitor, like Tremfya, which began its TV ad run last year. Still coming in the category—yet to be approved but expected this year—is AbbVie’s risankizumab. And given AbbVie’s history of investing heavily in TV ads for Humira, it wouldn’t be a leap to expect something similar when risankizumab hits the market. Eli Lilly is also in the new IL-23 psoriasis drug hunt with mirikizumab in phase 3 trial.
Overall, in 2018, psoriasis brands spent almost $375 million on national TV buys, according to data from real-time TV ad tracker iSpot.tv. For comparison, cancer drugs on TV topped $340 million and rheumatoid arthritis was more than $585 million in 2018.
Meanwhile, Sun’s Ilumya new TV ad touts its ability to prompt a quick response, saying “a majority of people were clear or almost clear” after two doses. Sun declined to talk about its commercialization and marketing plans for Ilumya, calling those plans proprietary. But in an emailed statement to FiercePharma, the drugmaker did say it “believes in patient and physician choice” and the ad campaign is aimed at raising awareness of Ilumya as a new treatment option for moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.
Siliq is managed under Baush’s Ortho Dermatologics division and still does not use TV ads in its marketing.