Spending on direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical ads rose 9% to $5.6 billion in 2016 [see note below], in part fueled by a 16% boost in spending from Bristol-Myers Squibb, according to data from Nielsen.
Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb again took the two top spots among drugmakers, spending $1.1 billion and $458 million, respectively, on DTC ads. AbbVie, Eli Lilly, and Allergan rounded out the top five DTC spenders. The Nielsen figures include business to business, outdoor, cinema, television, magazine, newspaper, and radio media spend, but not digital.
Newer brands to the top 20 list in 2016 include Novartis' heart-failure drug Entresto ($122 million), Novo Nordisk's diabetes treatment Victoza ($128 million), Celgene's psoriasis drug Otezla ($96 million), and Eli Lilly's diabetes drug Trulicity ($184 million).
The Celgene ad is under scrutiny by regulators. The drugmaker received an untitled letter from the FDA's Office of Prescription Drug Promotion last year over its DTC ad for Otezla, which said the ad's use of loud music and attention-grabbing visuals downplayed the risk information presented therein (here).
When broken down by channel, pharma companies spent less on cinema, newspaper, and radio media last year but sharply increased their investment in outdoor media by 552%. Business to business, television, and magazine media spend also grew, by 31%, 11%, and 6%, respectively.