Tough Losses

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PERQ/HCI's Journal Ad Review™ (JAR) reported a 5% decline in ad spending for medical/surgical journals when the first half of 2007 is compared to the year-ago period. Five-year-trend data indicates that the current spend level also trails the results observed for the first half of 2005 and 2004.

When medical/surgical journals are measured on an ad page basis, there was also a 5% decline. The top five journals (ranked by dollars) include Journal of the American Medical Association, New England Journal of Medicine, American Family Physician, Medical Economics and American Medical News. Each of these publications registered a decline in ad pages, and as a group are down 21%. A review of the companies, products and therapeutic classes that make up the top 25 lists follows.

The Top Advertisers
Pfizer retained the top spot in medical/surgical journals even though expenditures were reduced by 12% following lower ad outlays for Lyrica and the withdrawal of ad support for Celebrex. Pfizer's share of ad spending (11.6%) still remains well ahead of Wyeth (4.2% share) which held on to second place following a 39% cut in spending due largely to Effexor XR. Merck advanced from 4th to 3rd as ad outlays increased for Zostavax, Gardasil and Januvia, its new medication for Type 2 diabetes. Takeda Pharmaceuticals America climbed from 10th to 4th following higher spending for their Actos plus met combination and in support of Duetact, a new diabetes drug that combines Actos and glimepiride. Unchanged in fifth place was Eli Lilly.

Novo Nordisk moved up from 8th to 6th due largely to higher ad outlays on Levemir Injection, while Forest dropped from 3rd to 7th as ad spending was reduced on Namenda which is used to treat symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. AstraZeneca slipped from 7th to 8th as ad expenditures were cut by 18% and Sanofi-Aventis fell from 6th to 9th following a 19% reduction in ad outlays. Novartis edged up from 11th to 10th as ad expenditures increased for Gleevec and Diovan HCT.
New to the top 25 was Genentech BioOncology, up from 31st to 11th due largely to higher ad outlays for Herceptin and Avastin. Abbott was unchanged in 12th place even though spending was cut by 14%, Sepracor slipped from 9th to 13th following lower ad expenditures for Lunesta and Xopenex, while Shire US climbed from 21st to 14th due in part to higher ad outlays for Adderall XR.

Other companies that moved into the top 25 include Sanofi-Pasteur, up from 28th to 20th, Boehringer Ingelheim, up from 26th to 21st following higher ad spending on a number of products, while Schering-Plough jumped from 55th to 23rd due almost entirely to Noxafil, a new broad spectrum antifungal agent. Also new to the top group was Astellas Pharma, up from 29th to 24th following a 12% increase in spending.  Those missing from the top 25 include the Pfizer/Boehringer Ingelheim partnership that markets Spiriva, down from 18th to 26th and the Amylin/Eli Lilly joint venture that advertises Byetta, down from 24th to 30th. Ortho-McNeil fell from 15th to 34th while TAP Pharmaceuticals dropped from 20th to 39th due largely to lower ad outlays for Prevacid.

The Top Products
Effexor XR continued as the most heavily advertised product even as ad outlays declined by 49%. A 24% boost in spending for Lipitor advanced the Pfizer brand from 7th to 2nd, Lilly's Cymbalta moved up from 4th to 3rd following an 8% increase in expenditures, while Takeda's Rozerem edged up from 5th to 4th even though the brand had a budget cut of 6%.  Higher ad outlays for Pfizer's relatively new insulin inhalation powder, Exubera, pushed the brand from 101st to 5th.

Lexapro advanced from 8th to 6th even though ad expenditures for the Forest brand were unchanged, Novo Nordisk's Levemir climbed from 18th to 7th following a 61% boost in spending and Benicar (promoted by Sankyo Pharma and Forest) advanced from 14th to 8th. Chantix, a smoking deterrent from Pfizer jumped from 144th to 9th while Forest's Namenda fell from 3rd to 10th following a budget cut of 57%.

A big boost in spending advanced Herceptin from 314th to 11th. Lower ad outlays for Lyrica dropped the Pfizer brand from 2nd to 12th while spending cuts on Sepracor's Lunesta resulted in a decline from 9th to 13th. Merck's Zostavax advanced from 21st to 14th and its Gardasil vaccine climbed from 26th to 15th.

Two newly advertised entries that made the top 25 were Bristol-Myers Squibb/Otsuka's Abilify injection (for adults with agitation associated with schizophrenia or bipolar mania) in 17th place and Janssen's Invega, a new treatment for schizophrenia, was 18th. Others moving into the top 25 included Merck's Januvia (19th), Pfizer's Geodon (20th) and AstraZeneca's Seroquel. Mirapex climbed from 151st to 24th while Amitiza, which is promoted by the Sucampo/Takeda partnership, climbed from 76th to 25th following a 156% increase in ad expenditures.

Products that have dropped out of the top 25 include Pfizer's Celebrex, Detrol LA and Viagra, Abbott's Humira, TAP's Prevacid and Janssen's Risperdal. Also missing from the top group were Xopenex HFA, Byetta, Actos, Tarceva and Topamax.

The Top Therapeutic Categories
SSRI/SNRI's continued as the most heavily advertised therapeutic class even though expenditures declined by 26% during the first half 2007. Cytostatic drugs—other retained 2nd place while diabetes insulin held on to the third spot. Antipsychotics—other moved up from 5th to 4th due in part to ad support for Abilify while non-barbiturates sedatives slipped to 5th as expenditures declined by 36%.

Cholesterol reducers Rx statins advanced from 10th to 6th due largely to higher ad outlays for Lipitor and cancer therapy products jumped from 21st to 7th following an 80% boost in spending as ad expenditures were increased for a number of products including Gleevec and Herceptin. Ethical drugs miscellaneous—other advanced one spot to 8th, vaccines—other slipped to 9th, while the Alzheimer-type dementia class fell from 7th to 10th following a 38% decline in spending due largely to lower ad outlays for Namenda.

Seizure disorders fell from 6th to 12th due in part to lower ad outlays for Topamax, proton pump inhibitors climbed from 17th to 13th even though ad expenditures were up only 7% and antivirals—other dropped from 12th to 14th due largely to reduced ad support for Bristol-Myers Squibb's Reyataz. Angiotensin-II antagonists alone slipped from 14th to 15th following a 20% cut in ad expenditures.

Drug classes new to the top 25 include cholesterol reducers Rx—others, up from 73rd to 19th as the Merck/Schering-Plough partnership once again provided ad support for Vytorin, while smoking deterrents Rx climbed from 57th to 21st due to Pfizer's Chantix. Others advancing to the top group include UT antispasmodics, up from 27th to 22nd following higher ad outlays for Pfizer's Detrol LA, and GI anti-inflammatories, up from 59th to 23rd due in part to Centocor's Remicade.  Familiar therapeutic classes missing from the top 25 include calcium blockers, biologicals-vaccines and Cox-2 inhibitors.

Eugene M. May is director of marketing research at ACNielsen HCI

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