Meet Anderson Cooper’s Boss – Big Pharma


The advertising costs of Pfizer totaled approximately two billion U.S. dollars in 2021, an increase of 200 million U.S. dollars compared to the previous year. Total pharma advertising spending topped $6.58 billion in 2020, according to Kantar measured media. Digital ad spending in the industry will reach $15.84 billion in 2022. Although growth in digital budgets is slowing, we estimate the category will see nearly $20 billion in spending in 2024.

It’s no wonder the TV networks report what they’re told.

Everyday drugs that drive TV

The top TV advertiser in the US is called AbbVie. It is an American publicly traded pharmaceutical company founded in 2013. It originated as a spin-off of Abbott Laboratories and is one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, frequently ranking in the global top three by revenue.

AbbVie spent over $100 million on advertising in digital, print, and national TV in 2022. They invest in premium ad units and advertised on over 250 different media properties in the last year across multiple media formats. AbbVie launched and advertised 29 new products in the past twelve months. 

Their products are household names as a result of the weird American habit of advertising prescription drugs on TV. You might recognize these drugs from their ads:

  • Humira (adalimumab)
  • Imbruvica (ibrutinib)
  • Venclexta (venetoclax)
  • Zinbryta (daclizumab)
  • Kaletra (lopinavir)
  • Norvir (ritonavir)
  • Mavyret/Maviret (glecaprevir/pibrentasvir)
  • Skyrizi (risankizumab)
  • Rinvoq* (upadacitinib)
  • oh, and Botox through their acquisition of Allergan, an Irish company

*$315.8 million spent in 2022 making it the biggest pharma ad spend that year.