Elon Musk’s new pay-for-play verification system on Twitter shook pharmaceutical mainstay Eli Lilly (LLY) — which sent LLY stock tumbling Friday — after a fake account claimed “insulin is free now.”
The tweet was published at around 1.30pm on Thursday from an account claiming to be Eli Lilly. It remained online for several hours, gaining steam from hundreds of retweets and thousands of likes. As of Friday morning, the fake account is no longer verified and the tweets are now private.
But that didn’t stop LLY shares from falling 4.5% to 352.30 on today’s stock market. Healthcare shares were also largely destroyed on Friday.
“We apologize to those who have been served a misleading message from a fake Lilly account,” the company said from its official account.
The fake tweet appears here:
LLY Stock Dive extends to rivals
Eli Lilly’s official account was verified under Twitter’s old rules. The new verification system allows any account to be verified for just $8 per month. The move has caused a number of fake accounts to appear, posing as celebrities, politicians and historical figures.
Insulin prices have become a hot-button issue in the United States, where there are no generic drugs. Without insulin, some patients with diabetes would die. Lily, Novo Nordisk (NVO) and Sanofi (SNY) supplies 100% of the insulin used in the United States and 90% globally.
The LLY stock rout also extended to its rivals. The Novo Nordisk share fell 3.5% to 111.47. Sanofi shares lost 3.4% to end the regular session at 42.80.
In the third quarter alone, Lilly’s insulin products generated more than $878 million in sales. However, sales fell by more than 20% year-on-year. Lilly noted that Humalog-brand insulin underwent price cuts during the quarter. On its website, Lilly offers a program where insulin will cost $35 per month.
Representatives for the company did not immediately return a request for comment Friday morning.
LLY stock recently broke out of a flat base with a buy point at 335.43, according to MarketSmith.com. The shares are now outside the 5% hunting zone.
Follow Allison Gatlin on Twitter at @IBD_AGatlin.
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