Why internet trolls surround Afrezza

Afrezza was created and brought through the FDA approval process by the relatively small Mannkind Corporation. Mannkind was founded by Alfred Mann, the billionaire inventor / engineer / philanthropist for the sole purpose of bringing Afrezza to patients. Incidentally, Alfred Mann also founded Minimed years ago and was instrumental in bringing the first insulin pumps to users.

Bringing Afrezza to market was taking place in a final chapter of Al Mann’s life (Mann died in early 2016). He poured over a billion dollars of his own personal fortune into bringing it to market and securing FDA approval.

Inhaled insulin, however, had already experienced a meandering, conflicted path to market. Following Pfizer’s Exubera (a previous inhaled insulin) which was a commercial failure, expectations for inhaled insulin varied widely. Afrezza had some key differences from Exubera, though; Afrezza actually worked, and worked phenomenally well, and was convenient and practical for users.

As this product was first reaching the market, it took on all the elements of a soap opera story… the billionaire 90 year old philanthropist, eager to secure a lasting legacy, dumps his fortune into a product he invented in hopes of seeing it reach users before he passes away. The small penny-stock company that created a revolutionary game-changing product. What happens in these instances? First, the internet churns into a fury of anticipation, excitement, and frenzy. Yay and naysayers stake out their positions. And then come the unsophisticated (meaning ones who don’t actually have money) investors.

Unsophisticated investors of all stripes flocked to Afrezza. Some thought it was the best idea ever, and surely their ticket to wealth. Some traded many thousands of shares on margin (meaning with money they didn’t even actually have) because this was an absolutely certain thing in their mind. Just as many others made financial bets against them. Because these were, by and large, unsophisticated investors (which generally encompasses all penny-stock traders), many of them bet far more of their resources for or against its success than was appropriate or prudent.

So we have a sensational story, a revolutionary product, a dying billionaire philanthropist, a penny stock, and a horde of unsophisticated investors with far too many of their eggs in this one basket.

At this point all rational online discussion of this valid medical therapy flew out the window. People with financial interests both for and against Afrezza staked out to disrupt every genuine conversation of this product on the internet. The Afrezza online troll army was born. Some of these trolls were friendly and helpful, trying to connect other users and foster the discussions about it. Some were highly disruptive, considering any conversation about the product working (or not working) to be a threat to their short stock positions and going to any length necessary to ensure these discussions were disrupted.

About a month before Mann died in 2016, Sanofi announced its plan to sever ties with Afrezza, owing to what it claimed was poor market performance.

Until now there has been no place on the internet safe from these disruptive Afrezza trolls, and most of the worthwhile discussions of Afrezza have been disrupted. That will not be allowed to happen here. We will be discussing Afrezza at length, its merits, its concerns, its efficacy. We’ll be answering questions and sharing experiences with it. This forum will not, however, tolerate the disruptive troll behavior that has surrounded this topic. If you are a diabetic, the caretaker of a diabetic, a loved one, you are welcome to discuss this subject here including any negative experiences or concerns you’ve had with this therapy. If you are a stock shorter and have no legitimate connection to diabetes, you are not welcome to participate in these discussions. If you’re a reasonable advocate (or even a critic) of this course of treatment we welcome your input, but any attempt to disrupt these discussions will not be tolerated.


Any trolls will be marked with the Scarlet Letter of Trolling: