Top 20 pharma brands dropped more than $2B on national TV ads last year

AbbVie HQ
AbbVie’s Humira ads aired more than 69,000 times nationally in 2016, according to iSpot. That's the equivalent of eight TV spots for Humira every hour of every day for the entire year.

Pharma companies spent $2.2 billion last year on TV ads for their 20 top brands, and nine of the biggest spenders each went over $100 million with their national media budgets, according to data from real-time TV ad tracker

Of course, the top spender should come as no surprise to anyone who’s been following’s tallies of pharma ad spending this year. In fact, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who just watches TV.

AbbVie’s Humira ads aired more than 69,000 times nationally in 2016, according to iSpot. Strictly mathematically speaking, that means eight TV spots for Humira ran every hour of every day for the entire year.


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In dollars spent, AbbVie dropped more than $344 million on Humira national TV ads across its indications for arthritis, psoriasis, and Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, according to iSpot. Broken down by indication, it was $173 million on arthritis ads, $118 million on Crohn’s and colitis ads, and $54 million on psoriasis ads.

Even compared with the company's past aggressive spending on Humira, that’s a big increase. Its 2016 TV total represented a 70% climb over its 2015 total of about $202 million.

Humira, however, was far from alone in the spendy circle. Eight other brands topped more than $100 million in national TV ad spending for 2016, according to iSpot.

Pfizer took the No. 2, 3 and 4 spots, spending $221 million on its seizure and pain drug Lyrica; $174 million on anticoagulant Eliquis, which its co-markets with Bristol-Myers Squibb; and $139 million on oral rheumatoid arthritis therapy Xeljanz. Keeping erecticle dysfunction ads in national view was Eli Lilly's Cialis at No. 5 with $115 million spent.

See the full list of the top 20 spenders below, courtesy of iSpot.

  1. AbbVie's Humira: $344 million
  2. Pfizer's Lyrica: $221 million
  3. Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb's Eliquis: $174 million
  4. Pfizer's Xeljanz: $139 million
  5. Eli Lilly & Co.'s Cialis: $115 million
  6. Johnson & Johnson's Invokana: $106 million
  7. GlaxoSmithKline's Breo: $103.1 million
  8. Sunovion's Latuda $102.7 million
  9. Novo Nordisk's Victoza: $101 million
  10. Pfizer’s Viagra: $97.5 million
  11. Novartis' Cosentyx: $86.9 million
  12. Bayer and Johnson & Johnson's Xarelto: $84.4 million
  13. Bristol-Myers Squibb's Opdivo: $79.5 million
  14. Pfizer's Prevnar 13: $75.6 million
  15. Sanofi's Toujeo: $69.7 million
  16. AstraZeneca's Farxiga: $67.5 million
  17. Novartis' Entresto: $65.7 million
  18. Allergan's Linzess: $61.5 million
  19. Eli Lilly & Co.'s Trulicity: $58.4 million
  20. Otsuka and Lundbeck's Rexulti: $58.2 million

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