Elon Musk’s new pay-for-play verification system on Twitter shook pharmaceutical mainstay Eli Lilly (LLY) — leading LLY stock to skid Friday — after a fake account claimed “insulin is free now.”
The tweet went live around 1:30 p.m. 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 its tweets are now private.
But that didn’t stop LLY stock from falling 4.5% to 352.30 on today’s stock market. Health care stocks were broadly pummeled Friday as well.
“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 is shown 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 spurred numerous fake accounts to crop up, impersonating celebrities, politicians and historical figures.
Insulin prices have become a hot-button issue in the U.S. where no generics exist. Without insulin, some patients with diabetes would die. Lilly, Novo Nordisk (NVO) and Sanofi (SNY) supply 100% of the insulin used in the U.S. and 90% globally.
The LLY stock slide also extended to its rivals. Novo Nordisk shares fell 3.5% to 111.47. Sanofi stock lost 3.4% and ended the regular session at 42.80.
In the third quarter, alone, Lilly’s insulin products generated more than $878 million in sales. Sales fell more than 20% year over year, however. Lilly noted its Humalog brand insulin underwent price cuts during the quarter. On its website, Lilly offers a program in which insulin will cost $35 per month.
Representatives of the company didn’t 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. Shares are now beyond the 5% chase zone.
Follow Allison Gatlin on Twitter at @IBD_AGatlin.
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