Sepracor slashes Lunesta ad budget

Spotted a moth lately? Fewer and fewer people have, and for good reason. Sepracor has started to cut back its consumer ads, making that familiar Lunesta moth something of an endangered critter. At least in comparison with previous years, when the sleep-aid mascot fluttered about on TV screens everywhere.

What gives? Well, the market for insomnia meds is slowing somewhat, the Boston Globe reports. Plus, Sepracor's sleeping-pill competitors are scaling back their consumer promotions, too. And Sepracor is keen on shifting ad dollars to products that might offer more bang for the promotional buck. Analysts appear to agree with the move; according to Ian Sanderson of Cowen & Co., "most of the Street felt the ad spending could not be sustained."

Last year, Sepracor spent nearly $300 million on advertising Lunesta, making it the most heavily advertised drug in the country. That budget beat out the second-most advertised drug, Sanofi's insomnia pill Ambien CR, by more than $100 million. This year, Sepracor has so far dropped to fifth place among the most advertised meds, again just ahead of Ambien.

- read the story in the Globe