The six US pharmaceutical manufacturers with approved biologic treatments for rheumatoid arthritis in 2005 - Amgen, Wyeth, Centocor, Schering-Plough, Abbott Labs and Bristol-Myers Squibb - spent $195 million during that year promoting these drugs, according to a new report published by Decision Resources and Millennium Research Group.

The approved products were Amgen/Wyeth’s Enbrel (etanercept), Centocor’s Remicade (infliximab), Abbott’s Humira (Adalimumab), Amgen’s Kineret (anakinra) and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Orencia (abatacept).

The $195 million includes spending for physician detailing and journal advertising in the USA, France and Germany, as well as for direct-to-consumer advertising in the US, says the study. It also notes that the 2005 spending table was led by Abbott, with its aggressive DTC campaign in the USA for Humira.

This level of promotional spending is typically associated with more prevalent conditions than RA, for example dyslipidemia, asthma and allergic rhinitis, it says. But one reason for this unusually high level is that the market for RA biologics is extremely competitive, with several similar agents competing for the small number of patients eligible for treatment with a biologic treatment. Also, RA biologics have expanded to a number of other disease areas in recent years, and the $195 million is the total spent for promotion of the five brands, including all indications for which they are approved.

Melissa Stolper, therapeutic area director at Decision Resources, notes that the total promotional spending for Enbrel, for example, covers not only RA but also psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and psoriasis, while such expenditure for Remicade includes Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis, in addition to RA. Companies need to promote their drugs for several indications, and this often involves targeting other physician audiences apart from rheumatologists, she adds.

For further information on the study, which is entitled Brands & Strategies: Rheumatoid Arthritis, visit: