In 2017, television pharmaceutical advertising, for prescription drugs, increased from $3.11 billion in 2016, to $3.45 billion. That’s an increase of 10 percent, year over year, according to a report released by FiercePharma.
Though there are many factors to why prescription drugs cost so much, many critics attribute their high price tag to how much manufacturers spend on TV ads.
This can be illustrated by the amount spent on advertising for Humira, an anti-inflammatory drug, marketed by AbbVie. It saw $341 million dollars in ad spend in 2017. There is a common theme with the cost of drugs that are advertised on television – many of the drugs you see marketed on TV are high-cost medications.
For example, one carton of the specialty drug Humira, which contains two pens, costs $4,978. Furthermore, the nerve pain drug, Lyrica, which saw the second highest ad spend in 2017, costs $235 for 30 capsules. Lyrica’s overall ad spend was about $125 million less than Humira’s.
What does this mean for drug costs?
Well, the more money spent on pharmaceutical advertising and R&D costs, the more your prescriptions are going to cost. It is for this reason that you need to discuss all options for treatment with your doctor. There may be a therapeutic alternative or cheaper options for treatment.
According to the Washington Post, nine out of 10 of the largest drug companies spend more on advertising than on research and development costs.
A continued increase in ad spend is becoming commonplace. Spend on pharmaceutical advertising inflated by 62% from 2012 to 2016. With the increase from 2016 to 2017, it seems there is no end in sight for the perpetual increase in the cost of prescription drug marketing.
Here is the full list of the top 20 pharmaceutical advertisers
- AbbVie’s Humira: $341 million
- Pfizer’s Lyrica: $216 million
- Pfizer’s Xeljanz: $167 million
- Eli Lilly’s Trulicity: $145 million
- Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Eliquis: $142 million
- Merck’s Keytruda: $127 million
- Bayer and Johnson & Johnson’s Xarelto: $120 million
- Eli Lilly’s Taltz: $116 million
- GlaxoSmithKline’s Breo: $103 million
- Novartis’ Cosentyx: $100 million
- Novo Nordisk’s Victoza: $98 million
- AstraZeneca’s Farxiga: $87.4 million
- Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly’s Jardiance: $86.9 million
- Bristol-Myers Squibb: Opdivo: $82 million
- Celgene’s Otezla: $78 million
- Gilead’s Harvoni: $75 million
- Allergan’s Linzess: $73 million
- Novartis’ Entresto: $71 million
- Otsuka and Lundbeck’s Rexulti: $69 million
- Johnson & Johnson’s Invokana: $63 million