Direct to Consumer Campaigns for Pfizer’s Xeljanz, Abbvie’s Humira, and Amgen’s Enbrel the Most Influential with RA Patients

Despite the reported influence of DTC campaigns on RA patients, US rheumatologists doubt the effectiveness and appropriateness of brand advertising in RA, according to Spherix Global Insights


October 25, 2016 – Cambridge, Massachusetts. Survey responses of nearly 100 US rheumatologists reveal that RA patients are significantly more influenced by the DTC campaigns of Xeljanz, Humira, and Enbrel than any other RA biologic.  Despite patient influence, US rheumatologists tend to have negative opinions on the results that DTC campaigns produce.  Specifically, the majority of respondents believe that DTC campaigns frequently create patient anxiety about safety and side effects.  Furthermore, rheumatologists tend to think that DTC campaigns do not set appropriate expectations for their RA patients and do not frequently provide accurate portrayals of RA biologic/JAK brands.


Despite rheumatologists’ lack of confidence in the messages delivered by brand advertising, the three brands believed to have the strongest influence on patients, Xeljanz, Humira, and Enbrel, are also the most frequently requested by RA patients.  Indeed, data indicate that one-in-five requests for specific biologic/JAK brands in RA are attributed to some form of brand advertising (TV or print). However, there is little agreement among rheumatologists regarding willingness to grant patient requests for specific RA brands.


Physician and patient messaging will be key as several new pipeline agents prepare to enter the RA market.  On the eve of the potential approval of Regeneron/Sanofi’s sarilumab, respondents emphasize the importance for the sarilumab launch team to focus on distinguishing the IL-6 agent from Roche/Genentech’s Actemra, and also propose that a competitive pricing strategy is implemented to ensure appropriate and rapid uptake.  Indeed, the majority of respondents, after viewing a sarilumab product profile, do not see a difference in performance between sarilumab and Actemra with regard to efficacy, tolerability, safety, or ease of administration.  Despite a need for differentiation in a busy biologics market, 95% of respondents intend to trial sarilumab within the first year of launch.


About Spherix Global Insights

Spherix Global Insights is a business intelligence and market research company, specializing in renal, autoimmune, neurologic and rare disease markets.  Our aim is to apply our commercial experience and unique relationships within core specialty markets to translate data into insight, enabling our clients to make smarter business decisions.

For more information contact:

Lynn Price, Immunology Franchise Head