Advertising spending by the pharma industry rose 3% last year to $6.4 billion, according to Nielsen.
The lion’s share of that amount went to TV ads, which made up $5.1 billion, or nearly 80%, of overall spending. TV ad expenditures were followed by magazines at $1 billion and digital at $197 million. Pharma spending on digital ads dropped by 18% last year, compared with 2017, while TV ad spending jumped 8.5%.
Newspaper ads, after a slight bump in 2017, experienced the biggest decline last year with a 38% decrease. The industry’s spending on cinema ads tripled in 2018, reaching $11 million and overtaking pharma’s bill for outdoor ads.
The top five advertisers were Pfizer, AbbVie, Eli Lilly, Amgen, and AstraZeneca. Pfizer took the top spot with $1.1 billion in ad spending, double the amount that the second-biggest advertiser, AbbVie, spent in 2018.
Lilly diabetes treatment Trulicity was the top brand by spending, followed by Chantix, Otezla, Keytruda, and Xeljanz. Smoking-cessation drug Chantix and arthritis treatment Xeljanz are both owned by Pfizer. Psoriasis drug Otezla is made by Celgene and immunotherapy Keytruda is made by Merck.
Lilly spent more than $243 million on Trulicity advertising in 2018. This year, Trulicity was the first drug for which Lilly began running TV ads that directed patients to price information.