Eli Lilly caps insulin prices, McDonald’s Cardi B meal irks some franchisees and more

Plus: The gap between how the media views itself and what audiences see.

Eli Lilly has capped the price of its insulin at $35 per month.

Drugmaker Eli Lilly announced that no one will pay more than $35 a month for its life-saving insulin, NBC News reported.

The cap applies to all insulin products. For those with private insurance, the out-of-pocket cap will be automatically applied; those without insurance can sign up for a discount card online.

The move will bring significant price savings to many insulin-dependent diabetics. In 2018, a study found that the average cost of a single vial of insulin was $98.70, far above what other nations pay for the drug, which many diabetics need to survive.



Eli Lilly’s price cap comes amid intense pressure from multiple quarters. Congress had already capped the price of insulin at $35 for those on Medicare, and has made several failed attempts to extend the cap to younger users, NBC News reported. A rogue tweet from an account impersonating Eli Lilly also falsely claimed in November that insulin would be free, sending the company’s stock tumbling. Finally, increased generic competition is set to upend the insulin market, NBC News reported, as nonprofits, Mark Cuban’s pharmacy and even the state of California are all set to make their own low-cost insulin.

Why it matters: PR is clearly not the primary motivator here of the price reduction. There’s a complex legal and competitive landscape at play. However, by not waiting to be forced to lower its prices by legislation, or due to pressure once the lower-cost alternatives are on the market, Eli Lilly does win some PR points. They’re able to roll out the news on their terms — and the coordinated announcement is splashed across every major news site in the U.S.

McDonald’s Cardi B and Offset meal draws ire from some franchisees

A celebrity meal deal highlighting rapping couple Cardi B and Offset has drawn internal discontent from some McDonald’s franchisees, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Part of the “Famous Orders” line, the meal deal offers “a cheeseburger with BBQ sauce and a Coke for Cardi B and a Quarter Pounder with cheese and Hi-C Orange Lavaburst for Offset,” the Wall Street Journal reported, plus large fries and an apple pie.

But some franchisees say the risqué Cardi B (her explicit “WAP” was a 2020 smash hit) doesn’t fit with McDonald’s family friendly reputation and could violate a franchisee agreement prohibiting “musical partnerships associated with content that includes offensive language in the lyrics.”

The Wall Street Journal said that an unknown number of franchisees have refused to offer the meals and have removed promotional items from their restaurants.

In statements provided to the Wall Street Journal, McDonald’s defended the move, saying it had generated excitement across the company.

“We’re always thoughtful in what we post on McDonald’s channels and careful to avoid language that might offend,” the company said.

Why it matters: While it’s difficult to say just how widespread the internal pushback to the partnership is, there is a disconnect. “Offensive language” is a deeply subjective measure, but a great deal of Cardi B music is not something most people would be comfortable playing for children — like over the loudspeaker at a McDonald’s.

McDonald’s should work with franchisees to make sure there is alignment about what the company stands for to avoid muddling its brand values. If franchisees disagree — and franchising makes for a different dynamic than many other kinds of business — there should be clear ways to opt out.

The media doesn’t realize its audience doesn’t trust them, study says

A new survey from EvolveMKD and Ipsos finds a deep divide between how the media views itself and how their audience sees it.

As a press release reveals:

When asked how their audiences would describe them, the media picked words like “trustworthy”, “credible”, “authentic” or “truthful.” Meanwhile, responses from consumers were that the media is “biased”, “political,” or “deceitful.”

The survey also confirmed some now-familiar statistics: 40% of consumers think the media is more interested in being entertainment than news; 45% believe the news media has an agenda; and 41% believe the media is biased.

Why it matters: The news media remain strong partners and intermediaries for the PR industry. But the disconnect between their self-view and their audience’s view is concerning. Yes, (good) media strives to be trustworthy, credible and authentic, but something is getting lost in translation right now.

Work with your media partners to bridge that trust gap. And always be realistic about how your audiences feel about the outlets you work with. Assume there will be skepticism, even antipathy. And keep seeking alternate outlets like influencers, podcasts, events and other owned media channels.

A TikTok beauty filter is skewing the world

A scroll on TikTok will often reveal influencers using filters that give them freckles, change their eyes to a fantasy color or subtly touch up their makeup.

But a new filter called “bold glamour” takes it all a step forward, re-sculpting faces to plastic surgeried, airbrushed perfection.

As Mashable reports:

People on TikTok wrote that the filter should come with a warning and that it was basically face tuning, but just a filter. They’re not wrong. It smooths out any blemishes, it plumps your lips, whitens your teeth, while all still plausibly looking like it’s still you. The skin even seems to retain some texture while using the filter, basically hiding the fact that it’s smoothed.

The bold glamour filter is frighteningly effective. Should we let it, it creates an impossible and off-putting standard for anyone living a normal life. Already, there are tons of TikToks tutorials promising make-up to copy the filter IRL. That feels like a dangerous precedent to set.

Why it matters: As we use TikTok in our communications, we need to remember to be responsible stewards. The harm of airbrushing and other photo retouching is well-documented. This new ability to change your own face has the potential to further warp how we view ourselves.

Remember that authenticity is the greatest currency on TikTok. The rough edges are often what brings the most charm on the platform.

Allison Carter is executive editor of PR Daily. Follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.


3 Responses to “Eli Lilly caps insulin prices, McDonald’s Cardi B meal irks some franchisees and more”

    Ronald N Levy says:

    Saying that “Ely Lilly will cap the out-of-pocket cost of its insulin” is not actually the same as saying “no one will pay more than $35 a month.”

    SOMEONE will pay and if it won’t be the consumer who pays, it will be the government or Ely Lilly since it’s unlikely that pharmacies will be forced to sell at a loss. Or—a surprising reality—consumers will ultimately pay directly or via their government.

    Could we cut the cost by 90% of ALL pharmaceuticals and ALL canned food and ALL dishwashers by simply passing a law that no one may charge more? No because companies required by law to sell for that or go to jail would simply charge more for other things consumers buy. What else could companies do?

    My mother, God bless her, worked two jobs so I could go to Wharton where they teach the Law of Supply and Demand: Price varies directly with demand and inversely with supply. That’s in a free market. Even if the market is not free, neither will our products be. Suppliers will either not produce a product or will charge more for other products if that’s what the law in effect requires.

    Ma, you helped my whole life, I hope I made you proud and now you are helping our country’s PR and political leaders who read this if they don’t already know: there’s no free lunch. Consumers must pay for what they get or else government pays or else stores will run out, so it’s not really correct that “no one will pay more than $35 a month for insulin.” Maybe no one except Wharton grads and other economists will TELL us this but SOMEONE will pay.

    Colleen says:

    1. A vial of insulin costs about $4 to $7 to produce.
    2. The law of “supply and demand” is fine when the product is not a necessity. If you want to buy your kids an Xbox for $500 instead of telling them to play in the backyard, then great. Enough people are willing pay $500, so that’s the price that Nintendo can charge. But millions of Americans need insulin to stay alive. “Supply and demand” isn’t at play here. It’s greed by an industry that has people at its mercy simply because those people would like to stay alive.

    Ronald N Levy says:

    Colleen is right that “the law of supply and demand is fine when the product is not a necessity.” But like the law of physics is fine that “a body at rest tends to remain at rest” whether the body is good looking or not, the law of supply and demand is fine and applies to ALL products, necessities or luxuries.

    Just as the value of your labor, Colleen, depends on what you can do for an employer, not on how much it cost to raise you, the value of a drug also comes from what it can do for people. What insulin can do is to keep patients alive and you, Colleen, have every right to judge how much that is. So do we all.

    The value of taking PR courses and winning PR awards is that winners may become worth three or four times as much as those who don’t take the courses and don’t win the awards, who don’t sacrifice and who instead have a good time.

    Drug companies and doctors make a living by saving lives, and judge for yourself whether life-savers are worth what they can get and worth much MORE than people who don’t save lives but who criticize as “greed” charging what people and their governments are glad to pay for the pleasure of staying alive.

    Life is great so take the courses, win the awards, sell products and skills that help people, and then enjoy all that you earn. It is not greed to make a lot of money by earning it. Some people are stupid to NOT earn a lot of money and enjoy life more if they could take courses and win awards to do better.

    Some people blame capitalism or blame big companies or blame their own parents but honestly, isn’t it better to help others more and earn more rather than choosing not to and then blaming others?

    You don’t need PR Daily or other teams of educators. You can figure “screw them” and try to get from the library all the information you need. But judge whether PR people and pharmaceutical people are better off—or not better off—if they decide to take the courses, LEARN more and EARN more instead of blaming our country’s system.

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