New Target: Eli Lilly Feels the Burn of Bernie Sanders After Tweet

Published: Nov 03, 2016

New Target: Eli Lilly Feels the Burn of Bernie Sanders After Tweet November 2, 2016
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders has struck again. Shares of Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly fell Tuesday afternoon after Sanders criticized the price increases of that company’s insulin, Humalog. The senator also criticized another insulin maker, Novo Nordisk as well due to similar price hikes.

Sanders criticized Eli Lilly for a 700 percent price increase of Humalog over the past two decades. He said it was nothing but greed on his tweet. The price of the drug has grown from about $21 to more than $250 per vial, The Street reported, citing the Washington Post report that Sanders attached to his tweet.

“People are dying and getting sicker because they can’t afford insulin, just so Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk can make outrageous profits,” Sanders said on his Twitter feed.

However, Sanders tweet didn’t have any kind of last impact on Lilly’s stock price. Shares fell less than 2 percent on Tuesday, from $72.75 per share to $72.05. However, the stock quickly rebounded and closed at $73.15— perhaps showing that investors were not “feeling the Bern.” This morning shares are down to $73 as of 9:50 a.m. Shares of Novo Nordisk are down this morning, trading at $35.75 as of 10:00 a.m. However, that company’s stock is still feeling the pinch from Novo Nordisk’s recent news that it will terminate up to 1,000 jobs, mostly in research and development.

Sanders has been an outspoken critic of increasing drug prices, suggesting that the only reason for big increases is that corporations are money-hungry.

Eli Lilly defended the pricing of Humalog and noted that the revenue stream from the drug was actually lagging, the Indianapolis Star reported this morning.

“…while the list price for Humalog has gone up, Lilly actually receives a lower average net price now than in 2009. When Lilly released third quarter earnings on October 25, the biggest miss noted was Humalog, whose US revenue fell 14 percent, driven by a 24 percent decline in net price,” Eli Lilly said in its statement, according to the Star.

This isn’t the first time a Sanders tweet affected stock prices. Just a few weeks ago, Sanders decried Ariad Pharmaceuticals for systematically increasing the price of its leukemia drug, Iclusig, more than 73 percent since the drug’s launch in 2012. Iclusig is a BCR-ABL kinase inhibitor aimed at the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia Sanders said the price increase, which went from a monthly price of $9,580 in 2012 to $16,560 per month—a total price of $198,720 per patient annually. Sanders said Ariad’s price increases amounted to nothing more than greed.

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