Pfizer has been taken for a big time ride by pranksters who in a press release announced that the group would no longer increase the prices of its drugs; a tremendous insult to an industry which had in the past months been jostling with intense scrutiny by the authorities for price rise and price extortion charges. The most damaging impact on Pfizer came with its stock falling by 2 % due to the hoax.
However, the prankster’s price offer on the part of the group, was a dream come true for many. Though the tom foolery couldn’t last long , for Pfizer officials on discovering the April Fools day prank immediately denied association with the press release and the website link floated in the name of pfizerinternational.com. The company statement said “it was erroneously attributed to Pfizer and should be disregarded.” The website and the press release have since vanished.
According to Bloomberg the company has clarified that the matter is under investigation and action would be taken against those paying truant. It is not clear whether the pranksters played this prank with the intention to manipulate stock or were actually cracking a joke on ‘All Fools Day.’ The entire incident reminded one of the trick played by frauds who in yet another incident filed bogus SEC filings related to eminent businessman Warren Buffet’s stock purchases & take over offers, in a supposed attempt to pump up stock prices for their own gain.
Though the Washington Post fell prey to the announcement and carried a story headlined “Pfizer vows to stop raising the list prices of its drugs.” The story was removed after the truth dawned on the newsdaily. Investors however, played wise, the stock price though down by a mere 2 % soon recovered and came upto a 1.4% before closing of day.
Connecticut-based Hammerstone, Group, a market analysis firm sent out an alert to investors declaring the drug price announcement to be fake, yet others expressed outrage on Twitter.