Eli Lilly gets caught up in Twitter mess

Nov. 14, 2022

Last week, a tweet went out from a fake Eli Lilly Twitter account, calling into the question the future of the platform for the pharma industry — and hitting on a hot button issue for the drugmaker.

Last Thursday afternoon, an account using Lilly's name and logo tweeted: “We are excited to announce insulin is free now.” The account had the blue 'verified' check mark, which for years meant the account had been verified as authentic.

The problem was, the account was a fake — Twitter's new owner, Elon Musk, has rolled out a subscription service that offers the blue check mark to anyone willing pay $8 per month.

The fake tweet went live around 1:30 p.m. and got hundreds of retweets and thousands of likes. A few hours later, when Twitter failed to take action, the real Eli Lilly tweeted an apology: "We apologize to those who have been served a misleading message from a fake Lilly account. Our official Twitter account is @LillyPad "

But that didn't stop Lilly's stock from falling 4.5% on Friday — although its difficult to say whether or not the drop was directly related to the tweet. What the tweet did do, however, is bring fresh attention to what has been an ongoing issue for the drugmaker — insulin prices. Lilly's real Twitter page was hit with deluge of questions regarding insulin affordability, to which Lilly has responded by providing a website and resources related to insulin affordability. 

According to reporting by the Washington Post, the day after the incident, Eli Lilly halted to all Twitter ad campaigns. A barrage of fake accounts have hit the platform — parodying everything from major corporations to political candidates to Elon Musk himself.