7. Brand: Eliquis
Company: Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb
What is it: next-gen anticoagulant
2019 spend: $158.5 million
2018 spend: $196.1 million
After more than six years on the market and significant investments in DTC advertising, Eliquis shows little sign of slowing down. The market-leading anticoagulant—ahead of branded competitors Johnson & Johnson’s Xarelto and Boehringer Ingelheim’s Pradaxa, as well as generic warfarin—ran six different TV commercials across two indications last year, where the majority of its ad budget goes.
In commercials for atrial fibrillation treatment, Eliquis touts its better results over warfarin, while in commercials for the treatment of deep vein thrombosis and/or pulmonary embolism, it sticks to simply saying Eliquis is better than the standard treatment.
Sales are way up as well. Bristol-Myers Squibb reported global 2019 Eliquis sales of $7.9 billion, with U.S. sales accounting for $4.76 billion, a 26% increase over 2018's haul.
But generics are knocking at the door, with 25 companies filing for FDA approval for their copycats in 2017. However, Bristol-Myers and Pfizer threw up a patent wall of lawsuits and have gotten key extensions on their patents out as far as 2026, which the drugmakers are arguing is when Eliquis generics should be allowed to enter.
DTC helped get Eliquis where it is, so it’s not likely a strategy Bristol-Myers and Pfizer would abandon. In 2014, when the drug was struggling to rack up sales, a BMS spokesperson told FiercePharma that DTC was working to move the needle and it planned to stay that course and even increase spending behind the initial campaign.