Merck

Total: $140.9 million

Top 3 drugs
Gardasil: $24.3 million
Nasonex: $23.9 million
Zostavax: $21.8 million
Watch the Gardasil (Canada) TV commercial here >>

The 8,500 Merck ($MRK) employees getting sacked might feel chagrined when they learn their company spent nearly $141 million on advertising in the first 6 months of 2013. Many of the companies on the top advertisers list, however, are those whose recent sales have sucked for one reason or another. Companies advertise to sell more product. Merck's Nasonex is a perennial top-advertised product, but it is interesting to see that this year, Merck actually spent more money pushing Gardasil, its vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV). Now that its stalwart respiratory drug Singulair is off patent and has been nearly flattened by generics, Gardasil is among the company's top-selling drugs. Global sales were up 27% in the first half of the year to $773 million, primarily on volume growth in the U.S., compared with the same period in 2012. Gardasil actually outsold Nasonex, which generated $711 million in the first half, and cleanly surpassed Singulair, which dropped to $618 million, down more than $2 billion from the $2.8 billion it sold in the same period a year ago.

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