The stock price of pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly took a nose dive on Friday after a “verified” account on Twitter claiming to be the company’s official social media account sent out the tweet, “We are excited to announce insulin is free now.”  

The impersonating account had been verified with a Twitter blue tick, thanks to Elon Musk’s alteration in the policy introducing the option to pay $8 for verification. By the time the fake account was taken down and the pharma company’s official account tweeted an apology, saying, “We apologize to those who have been served a misleading message from a fake Lilly account,” the damage had already been done.

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Eli Lily is one of the top three global producers of insulin. The tweet from the fake account stayed online for several hours when the post was liked thousands of times and retweeted hundreds of times. 

The company’s stock dropped 2.2 percent following the incident. Insulin prices have been a frequent subject of debate in the United States with Democrats attempting to cap insulin doses at $35 as part of the Inflation Reduction Act. However, Republican lawmakers have struck down the measure in the past.

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In January 2019, lawmakers from the US House of Representatives sent letters to Eli Lilly and other insulin manufacturers asking for explanations for their rapidly rising insulin prices after insulin for people with type 1 diabetes in the country almost doubled from $2,900 to $5,700 from 2012 to 2016.

Who owns Eli Lilly?

Eli Lilly and Co is an American pharmaceutical company headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, with offices in 18 countries and products sold in approximately 125 countries. The company was founded in 1876 by Colonel Eli Lilly, who was a pharmaceutical chemist and veteran of the American Civil War.  

After the company stayed under three generations of Lilly family leadership, namely, Col. Eli Lilly, his son, Josiah K. Lilly Sr., and two grandsons, Eli Lilly Jr., and Josiah K. Lilly Jr., the company announced a reorganization in 1944. 

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John C. Lechleiter was elected as Lilly’s CEO and president on April 1, 2008, after serving as Lilly’s president and chief operating officer since October 2005.

In 1937, Josiah K. Lilly Sr. and his two sons, Eli and Joe, founded a private charitable foundation called the Lilly Endowment with gifts of Lilly stock. The endowment owns 11.3% of the company