8. Eliquis

Bristol Myers Squibb
BMS and partner Pfizer's anticoagulant Elquis continues to urge patients to look for "what's next" in life despite health conditions like afib.

Brand: Eliquis
Company: Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb
What is it: next-gen anticoagulant
2020 spend: $170.5million
2019 spend: $158.5 million

Pfizer and Bristol Myers Squibb’s Eliquis is rounding the corner on seven years on the market with DTC advertising—and no signs of slowing.

Advertising for the market-leading anticoagulant increased again in 2020, boosted by more than $10 million and keeping the brand relatively steady at No. 8 on the list. Eliquis was No. 7 last year, but new contenders Rinvoq and Skyrizi both jumped in ahead on the chart.

Eliquis runs two commercials for two different indications—as an atrial fibrillation treatment and also for deep vein thrombosis and/or pulmonary embolism. Pfizer and BMS continued running its “Around the Corner” DVT work last year, but added two new spots in afib, each focused on one older patient who talks about “what’s next” for them in living active lives even though they live with higher stroke risk.

RELATED: Eliquis partners BMS and Pfizer join the pharma crowd urging doctor visits during COVID-19

While unbranded campaigns aren’t part of Kantar’s ad tallies, Pfizer and BMS did begin a pandemic-related campaign focused on three health conditions treated by Eliquis aimed at raising awareness and encouraging people to seek medical attention.

However, even with people missing doctors’ visits Eliquis notched a sales increase. BMS reported 2020 sales of $9.2 billion, up 16% over the previous year. Eliquis benefited during the pandemic as demand rose as healthcare professionals and systems began COVID-19 stocking the blood thinner Eliquis.

RELATED: Bristol Myers Squibb's blood thinner Eliquis soars on COVID-19 demand, but Opdivo could suffer: execs

The drug benefited from early pandemic evidence that using blood thinners in COVID-19 patients might reduce the risk of death from clotting-related complications such as strokes and heart attacks. 

Another issue on Eliquis full plate is generics. While dozens of generic makers have been circling for some time—and one even gaining approval in 2019—BMS and Pfizer court wins last year have analysts anticipating Eliquis rivals firmly held off now until 2026.

8. Eliquis