Eli Lilly CEO says insulin tweet flap “probably” signals need to bring down cost

Eli Lilly CEO says insulin tweet flap “probably” signals need to bring down cost


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In this photo illustration the Eli Lilly and Company logo

In his first public remarks since a false tweet inflamed outrage over the cost of insulin in the US, Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks defended his company’s pricing—but also conceded it could be lower.

“It probably highlights that we have more work to do to bring down the cost of insulin for more people,” Ricks said of the Twitter fury.

He made his comments at an event held by Stat News this week. Eli Lilly did not respond to Ars’ request for more information about what work the company will do to lower prices.

Ricks’ comments were made just a few days after a false tweet from a fake-but-blue-checkmarked account posing as Eli Lilly stated: “We are excited to announce insulin is free now.”

The tweet quickly amassed thousands of likes and hundreds of retweets as Eli Lilly tried to get Twitter to remove it. According to a report from The Washington Post, there was panic within Eli Lilly as staff tried to contact Twitter employees but didn’t get a response for hours. Ricks acknowledged this week that the company struggled to get the tweet removed and found the situation “disappointing.”

“It misled people and we wanted to get that corrected quickly. It probably didn’t happen quickly enough to our liking,” he said. “And it demonstrates some of the challenges on that platform.”

With the false tweet up for many hours—and other spoof Eli Lilly accounts piling on—the real company took things into its own hands, tweeting from its verified account: “We apologize to those who have been served a misleading message from a fake Lilly account. Our official Twitter account is @LillyPad.” But it did little to dampen the outcry, with Twitter users responding: “Apologize to diabetics for price gouging,” and “Why don’t you make affordable insulin instead of apologizing?”

The Twitter wrath stems from longstanding frustration with US drug pricing, which is uniquely high, particularly for insulin, which is a cheap drug to make. Many patients with diabetes in the US can easily see bills in the hundreds of dollars for a few vials a month, and a recent study found that 1.3 million Americans ration their insulin.

Tech

via Ars Technica – All content https://arstechnica.com

November 21, 2022 at 06:21AM

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