Pharma’s Big Spending on TV Ads Continues in 2018

Total spending in the first 9 months of 2018 has already surpassed spending for all of 2017.

If it seems like you are seeing more ads for prescription medications on TV than you have in the past, your perception is correct. Through the first nine months of 2018, spending on TV advertising by the top 70 brands has increased 11% over the amount spent during the same period last year. The increase is slightly greater for the top 10 brands, which spent $1.19 billion as of September 30, 2018 –– up 12% from the $1.07 billion spent during the period in 2017. 

For the month of September, Abbvie held the leading spot, with estimated total spending for its anti-inflammatory drug Humira at $26.5 million. Pfizer had the second, third place and fifth places, spending an estimated $21.2 million on its seizure and pain drug Lyrica, $17.4 million on its anticoagulant Eliquid (marked with Bristol-Myers Squibb) and $12.1 million on its oral rheumatoid arthritis therapy Xeljanz. 

Eli Lilly comes in fourth and ninth with its GLP-1 and SGLT2 diabetes drugs Trulicity and Jardiance (marketed with Boehringer Ingelheim), for which it spent approximately $12.7 million and $9.3 million, respectively. Sixth place goes to Gilead, which spent an estimated $10.44 million on TV ads for its HIV and PrEP drug Truvada in September. Allergan takes a close seventh spot, spending $10.43 million on its antipsychotic drug Vraylar.

In total, the spending on TV ads in September 2018 for the top 10 pharma brands totaled $139 million.


Emilie Branch

Emilie is responsible for strategic content development based on scientific areas of specialty for Nice Insight research articles and for assisting client content development across a range of industry channels. Prior to joining Nice Insight, Emilie worked at a strategy-based consulting firm focused on consumer ethnographic research. She also has experience as a contributing editor, and has worked as a freelance writer for a host of news and trends-related publications