‘Hero’ journalist congratulated after Eli Lilly lowers price of insulin after his spoof tweet raised awareness

Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly announced that it would cap insulin prices at $35 a month, a move that was celebrated by individuals who need the drug to survive as well as one writer who used the chaos of Elon Musk's Twitter takeover to impersonate the company and draw attention to the drug's previously high prices.

Sean Morrow, who writes for More Perfect Union, celebrated the news on his TikTok.

In a recent video, Mr Morrow revisited his controversial tweet, explaining that he took advantage of Mr Musk's decision to make verification on Twitter a simple $8 transaction. He created an account with the handle @EliLillyAndCo — the company's real handle is @LillyPad — and issued a tweet saying the company planned to make insulin free.

The fake tweet was so convincing that the real Eli Lilly petitioned Twitter to kill the post, according to a Washington Post report.

Mr Morrow's tweet was credited by some for tanking the stock prices of Eli Lilly and other insulin-producing pharmaceutical companies, though its unclear exactly what impact the tweet had on share values. What is certain is that the tweet made headlines and highlighted the high prices of a life-saving drug.

He wrote in a video caption that while he is doubtful that he can take credit for Eli Lilly's decision to cap insulin prices, he hopes that "the pressure helped."

Some commenters on social media praised the journalist for that pressure, with one proclaiming “YOU ARE OUR HERO” after the announcement from Eli Lilly.

He celebrated the price cap in a recent video, writing "Good work Lilly!" in a text bubble overlay, while also encouraging the company to drop the price further.

After the company announced the price cap, Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks appeared on CNN to challenge other pharma companies to "take away the affordability challenges" of insulin prices.

“We call on everyone to meet us at this point and take this issue away from a disease that’s stressful and difficult to manage already,” Mr Ricks said.

Eli Lilly-Insulin Price Cuts (Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Eli Lilly-Insulin Price Cuts (Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Joe Biden also celebrated the announcement, noting the high prices of insulin in the US when compared to the rest of the world.

“For far too long, American families have been crushed by drug costs many times higher than what people in other countries are charged for the same prescriptions. Insulin costs less than $10 to make, but Americans are sometimes forced to pay over $300 for it. It’s flat wrong,” Mr Biden said in a statement.

He praised Eli Lilly for taking the initiative to drop the prices, noting that he had signed a law capping insulin at $35 for seniors and asking for companies to bring those prices down for everyone of their own volition.

"Today, Eli Lilly did that. It’s a big deal, and it’s time for other manufacturers to follow,” he said.

The price of insulin has been an issue for American families for years, with nearly 17 per cent of insulin users reporting the need to ration the drug due to affordability issues, according to CDC data.