Which Rx brands were the top ad-spenders last year? Hint: You’ve probably seen their commercials

May 2, 2022

Many of us visited our doctor’s offices or surgery centers only if absolutely necessary during the pandemic. That meant fewer opportunities for us to “ask our doctor” about the latest drug we saw advertised on TV.

Never fear, however, the publication Fierce Pharma reports that pharmaceutical companies spent billions of dollars to deliver their advertising directly to your living room (or kitchen or bedroom).

The biggest spenders/brands?

No. 1: Dupixent. 2021 ad spend: $523.9 million. Dupixent is used to treat adults and children older than 6 for moderate to severe eczema. Sanofi, the company that makes and markets Dupixent, features real patients in its ads. Hide our skin? Not us!

No. 2: Rybelsus. 2021 ad spend: $307.6 million. An oral medication used to treat Type 2 diabetes, Rybelsus sales jumped 168% in 2021 compared to 2020. The TV spot features animation and shows people starting the day “on a sunny, positive note.” Clearly, 2021 was bright for Novo Nordisk, the company that makes Rybelsus.

No. 3: Humira. 2021 ad spend: $253.5 million. In recent years, the immunology drug Humira appeared on every big-ad-spender list. Before the COVID vaccines, Humira was the biggest-selling drug in the world and still brought in $20.7 billion last year. However, AbbVie, the company that makes Humira, cut spending last year from $505.6 million in 2020. According to Fierce Pharma, AbbVie is now concentrating its efforts on newer drugs.

What do you think about Big Pharma advertising? Does it help or hurt? Share your thoughts and experiences with Voices for Affordable Health.