These days, you can’t turn on a television without being inundated with prescription drug commercials. Pharmaceutical companies are dishing out massive sums of money to advertise their drugs, sometimes by way of a jingle — oh-oh-oh Ozempic — to more staid and straightforward drug commercials like Ocrevus.
Either way, drug ads are inescapable for anyone with a TV in front of them, and big sums of money being spent behind the scenes to get your eyes on them. In November, "Big Pharma" spent a total of $158 million in television advertising costs.
Here are the top five big-spending pharmaceutical brands for television commercials last month according to Fierce Pharma:
Total estimated spending: $37.6 million, down from $46.7 million in October
Humira tops the list for November, as it did in October. The immunosuppressive drug is used to treat arthritis, plaque psoriasis, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. The drug has a nearly ubiquitous presence on television.
In November, Humira spent nearly $38 million for six television spots: one for psoriasis, three for arthritis, two each for ulcerative colitis and Crohn's. Its most expensive ad of the bunch was the “Body of Proof: Drums” commercial, which cost the drug maker an estimated $12.8 million, according to Fierce Pharma.
The one-minute-long commercial shows people dancing, playing musical instruments and other assorted activities that they would be otherwise precluded from doing without Humira.
Roche’s commercial spending sits at the absolute top of this list, having spent $20 million more in November than the number two spot.
Total estimated spending: $17.6 million
New to the list this month is Ocrevus, which spent $17.6 million in November for one television commercial spot: “Dear MS," which features 10 real multiple sclerosis patients, Fierce Pharma reports.
The Roche-brand multiple sclerosis drug was initially introduced in 2017 at a cost to patients of $65,000 a year, NPR reported at the time.
“OCREVUS is a bi-yearly medical treatment that is intended to reduce relapses for those who have been diagnosed with relapsing or primary progressive forms of Multiple Sclerosis,” according to the drugmaker.
Roche has been ramping up advertising efforts for the drug recently, launching a campaign that targets millennials, which explains how it shot to the number two spot.
As for its “Dear MS” ad, the 1:15 minute spot shows a variety of young women giving the ‘peace sign’ to multiple sclerosis as if to bid it adieu.
Total estimated spending: $16.6 million, up from $11.6 million last month
This HIV medication jumped five spots since October, moving from number eight to number three in the matter of a month.
The Dovato ad campaign spent $5 million more in November than it did in October for an ad titled “LáDeia." The 90-second “living with HIV” drug commercial featuring a HIV-positive woman as she works in her job as a marketing manager, celebrates her birthday with coworkers, and moves into a new house.
As Dovato ramps up its ad campaign and continues to spend more each month on commercial spots, expect to see a whole lot more of LáDeia in the near future.
Total estimated spending: $15 million, up from $13.7 million in October
While not a huge jump, Ozempic moved from number five in October to number four in November in terms of commercial ad spending.
The diabetes medication produced an earworm of a TV commercial spot titled “Minigolf: Oh, Ozempic!” which is set to the tune of "(Whoa, oh, oh) It’s Magic" by Scottish pop-rock band, Pilot.
The spot is still aired in fairly heavy rotation despite spending just a little more than $1 million more in advertising costs when compared to October, according to Fierce Pharma.
Total estimated spending: $13.6 million, down from $14.5 million in October
This psoriasis treatment drug lost a spot on this list in November, having come in at number four in October and number five in November for TV advertisement spending costs.
That $13.6 million covered the costs of two commercial spots, with the biggest-ticket ad being its one-minute long “Nothing is Everything” commercial, which cost the drug maker an estimated $12.5 million, Fierce Pharma reports.
AbbVie’s Skyrizi commercial features a group of friends spending the day at the beach, clad in bathing suits and bikinis, something a person with psoriasis, might likely actively avoid. While it’s not a household name yet, expect to see more Skyrizi commercials as AbbVie continues to spend top dollar on commercial spots.