- Competing in an increasingly crowded market, Amgen launched a direct-to-consumer advertising campaign Wednesday for its migraine treatment, headlined by a 60-second television spot.
- The TV ad, called "I Am Here," highlights "a migraine hope" for patients taking Aimovig, Amgen's CGRP inhibitor that launched earlier this year. U.S. approval of the preventive treatment was quickly followed by two similar drugs: Teva Pharmaceutical's Ajovy and Eli Lilly's Emgality.
- "For the mundane, the awe-inspiring, the heart-racing, the heart-breaking," a voiceover narrates as the ad flips through a mother dropping her child at school, a couple kissing and another getting into a heated verbal fight. "That's what life is all about: showing up."
Amgen was first to win approval for a CGRP inhibitor in the U.S., and has now beat rivals in launching a TV spot as well. Novartis teamed up with the Thousand Oaks, California-based Amgen in April 2017 to commercialize the migraine treatment.
The launch comes amid a controversial proposal from the Department of Health and Human Services that would require drugmakers to disclose list prices in TV ads. The pharmaceutical industry has suggested it may fight the idea in court, if needed, on First Amendment grounds. Prices are not mentioned in Amgen's newly launched ad spot.
Cost has proven to be an exceptionally important topic for the CGRP inhibitor drug class, as all approved treatments come at a yearly list price of $6,900.
Without a differentiator in price, negotiated rebates between pharmaceutical benefits managers and the respective drugmakers are even more critical, as shown by Express Scripts' move made public earlier Wednesday to exclude Teva's Ajovy (fremanezumab) from preferred coverage.
Amgen no doubt hopes the DTC ad launch can further differentiate Aimovig from the competition. The ad focuses on the potential benefit that fewer migraine days will bring patients.
"These are you days," the ad says. "What will each one bring. Doesn't matter as long as you can say I am here. Talk to your doctor about preventing migraine with Aimovig and be there more."
And while Amgen appears to be maintaining a quicker timeline than Teva and Lilly, additional competition in the CGRP space could come soon enough.
Alder Biopharmaceuticals' eptinezumab, administered intravenously versus subcutaneously, is expected to file for approval in the first quarter of 2019.
Allergan also expects to file its own CGRP inhibitor for U.S. approval in early 2019. The drug is different from the already approved CGRPs, though, in that it treats migraines after they develop instead of preventing them.