Despite his defeat in the primary, popular Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders continues to lend his star power to the principals of the political revolution, taking aim Tuesday at a pharmaceutical company that raised the price of a life-saving insulin drug—and Wall Street is taking notice.
Tuesday morning, Sanders criticized pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, which raised the price of its insulin drug Homolog by 700 percent in 20 years when adjusted for inflation.
In a tweet to his 2.7 million Twitter followers, the Vermont Senator posted a Washington Post graph showing the cost of Homolog has risen from $21 to $255 since 1996. Sanders blamed “the drug industry’s greed” for profiting off those in need.
Why has the price of Humalog insulin gone up 700% in 20 years? It's simple. The drug industry's greed. https://t.co/SUeSbsr2Ka— Bernie Sanders (@Bernie Sanders) 1478017681.0
Following Sanders’ tweet, stock prices for Eli Lilly immediately dropped 2.4 percent—a seven month low for the pharmaceutical giant. The senator’s Twitter account followed up the post about Homolog with several more messages critical of Eli Lilly.
“Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk clearly care more about their profits than their patients,” Sanders’ account posted. “It’s time to end their greed.”
It makes no sense that the same drug that costs $70 in France costs $450 in the US. We should reduce barriers to im… https://t.co/ZuHYwsv0Xl— Bernie Sanders (@Bernie Sanders) 1478019661.0
Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk clearly care more about their profits than their patients. It's time to end their greed. https://t.co/MqCsHNjzcO— Bernie Sanders (@Bernie Sanders) 1478023081.0
In a statement, Eli Lilly defended the price increase, inciting the “answer itself isn’t simple.”
"A permanent solution that gives everyone who uses insulin reasonable access will require leadership and cooperation across many stakeholders, including manufacturers, (pharmacy benefit managers), payers, and policymakers,” the company said in a statement. ”That’s because the answer itself isn’t simple.”
Sanders has long led the fight against Big Pharma greed. In 1999, Sanders drove seniors across Vermont’s Canadian border so they could purchase drugs at a cheaper rate than in the US.
And during his Democratic primary fight against Hillary Clinton, the Vermont Senator rejected a donation from Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO and “most hated man in America” Martin Shkreli after the “pharma bro” raised the price of a life-saving HIV drug by 4,000 percent.
“We are not keeping the money from this poster boy for drug company greed,” Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said at the time.