Pharma DTC spending jumps almost 21% in 2014

Pfizer ranked as pharma's top DTC spender during 2014.
Pfizer ranked as pharma's top DTC spender during 2014.

Pharma DTC spending spiked sharply during 2014, according to data compiled by Nielsen for MM&M's annual DTC Report.

Marketers spent $4.5 billion on DTC ads, a nearly 21% increase over the 2013 total of $3.8 billion—and the highest amount spent since 2010, when marketers poured just less than $4 billion into DTC.

Not surprisingly, most of the DTC dollars went toward television—$3.2 billion, 26% more than in 2013. Spending in magazines surged 13% to $1.2 billion, while newspaper spending predictably shrank, by 15% to $127 million. The Nielsen data excludes digital spend.

Pfizer again ranked as pharma's top DTC spender during 2014. Its outlay of nearly $1.1 billion—up 29% from 2013—tripled second-ranked AbbVie's DTC spend ($363 million, down 9% against the year-ago period). Of the other companies in the top 20, Johnson & Johnson ($257.8 million, up 123% versus 2013) and Sumitomo ($190 million, up 634%) grew their spending the most in 2014.

In Nielsen's ranking of top brands by DTC spend, Eli Lilly's Cialis ($248.7 million, up 15%) held the top spot for a second consecutive year, trailed by Bristol-Myers Squibb's Eliquis ($219 million, up 90%) and Pfizer's Viagra ($211 million, up 32%). Pfizer placed five brands on the list, with two Lyrica indications (for fibromyalgia and diabetes) landing in the top ten.

MM&M's 2015 DTC Report will be viewable online on Wednesday. One critic's ranking of the year's Top Ten DTC ads will debut tomorrow.