The new Twitter verification system, created by Elon Musk, has already caused several people to be banned for creating parody accounts with the seal. But the problem has gone from jokes on the Internet to the drop in shares of companies listed on the US stock exchange.
Fake accounts shook the pharmaceutical industry
The social network’s new verification system allows any account to be verified for $8 a month. The change spurred the emergence of fake accounts impersonating celebrities, politicians, historical figures and even companies.
Upon making the payment and receiving its verification seal, a fake account from pharmaceutical Eli Lilly (LLY) claimed in a tweet that “insulin is now free.” At the time of writing, the fake account is unverified and tweets private, but the post took hours to take down, racking up thousands of likes and hundreds of retweets spreading the message:
This tweet may be strange to some Brazilians because, since 2018, insulin has been distributed free of charge by the SUS, intended for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes throughout Brazil.
However, in the US there is no public health system. Thus, even if medications are undoubtedly necessary for a person to stay alive, as is the case with insulin for individuals with type 1 diabetes, the patient must pay the pharmacy bills.
Insulin pricing has become a major issue in the United States, where generics do not exist. There, medical bills cause many individuals to go bankrupt, when they do not choose to die.
The official profile of the company, which obtained its verification seal with the pre-Musk rules, made a post trying to clarify the matter:
“We apologize to those who received a misleading message from a fake Lilly account,” the company said.
But that didn’t stop LLY shares from falling in today’s trading.
Stocks sink on Musk’s Twitter account
The drop in LLY shares also extended to its rivals. Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk (NVO) and Sanofi (SNY) supply 100% of the insulin used in the United States, and as a result, NVO shares are down 3.2% and SNY shares are down 4%.
In the third quarter of this year alone, LLY’s insulin products generated more than $878 million in sales. On its website, the drugmaker offers a program in which insulin would cost $35 a month as an allowance for diabetics.