The price is right

Which medicines attract the highest TV advertising spend in the US?

A new report has revealed just how astronomical is the amount of money spent on pharmaceutical advertising in the US.

The report shows that pharmaceutical companies spent US$2.2 billion (A$2.9bn) last year on TV ads for their 20 top brands, and nine of the biggest spenders each went over US$100 million (A$133.5 mil) with their national media budgets.

Data from real-time TV ad tracker show that AbbVie’s Humira ads aired more than 69,000 times nationally in the US in 2016. That means eight TV spots for Humira ran every hour of every day for the entire year, industry newsletter Fierce Pharma calculated.

Pfizer took the second, third and fourth spots with seizure and pain drug Lyrica; anticoagulant Eliquis (which its co-markets with Bristol-Myers Squibb) and oral rheumatoid arthritis therapy Xeljanz.

US drug costs have come under criticism from President-elect Donald Trump, who said at a recent press conference: “They are getting away with murder. Pharma has a lot of lobbies, lobbyists and a lot of power. There is very little bidding on drugs.”

“We’re going to start bidding and we are going to save billions of dollars over a period of time.”

The 20 most advertised medicines (In US$) in 2016 were:  

  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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