Thursday ✅.

Today's newsletter is 633 words, a 2½-minute read.

🔔 The dashboard: The S&P 500 closed down 0.3%.

  • Biggest gainer? Gilead Sciences (+8.5%) said Phase 3 results for its HIV inhibitor drug, lenacapavir, showed 100% efficacy for women.
  • Biggest decliner? Jabil (-11.4%), the electronic components maker, noted "softness" in its automotive and transportation markets.

1 big thing: Beware the weight-loss imitators

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Eli Lilly unleashed a flurry of lawsuits against wellness centers, medical spas and others it accused of illegally hocking treatments that mimic its popular weight-loss drugs.

Why it matters: The emergence of GLP-1 medications — including Lilly's Mounjaro and Zepbound — and widespread shortages have created tremendous financial opportunities for legitimate and illegitimate players.

The big picture: Lilly and fellow GLP-1 seller Novo Nordisk — whose drugs include Ozempic and Wegovy — are racing to protect their turf as competition intensifies.

  • Lilly said its lawsuits are aimed at combating fake products, "unsafe compounded products," misleading ads, illegal online sellers and "inappropriate use," including the sale of GLP-1 drugs for cosmetic weight-loss purposes.
  • Novo in November filed its own series of lawsuits alleging "false advertising, trademark infringement and unlawful sales of non-FDA approved compounded products."

Reality check: The FDA allows companies to sell compounded versions of drugs when the originals appear on the agency's drug shortages list.

  • Lilly's lawsuits focus on the sellers' improper use of its branded products in marketing.

Zoom out: Telehealth platform Hims & Hers recently announced it would offer compounded versions of GLP-1 injections for $199 monthly, delivering a pop to the company's stock.

  • Hims & Hers was not a target of a Lilly lawsuit Thursday, but jittery investors nonetheless drove the company's stock down 10%.

The bottom line: The battle over the weight-loss drug space is just beginning.

2. Charted: That Hertz

A line chart that tracks the daily stock price of Hertz Global Holdings from July 1, 2021, to June 20, 2024. The chart shows a decline from $26.99 in July 2021 to $3.51 in June 2024. Notably, there's a drop to $15.07 on December 21, 2022, and a brief rise to $22.44 on March 28, 2022.
Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Axios Visuals

Hertz is issuing $750 million in secured notes as the rental car company tries to get back on its financial feet.

The big picture: The company is hoping to bolster its liquidity as it's reeling from a massive depreciation in its vehicle fleet pegged to the sale of 30,000 EVs after its fleet costs ballooned.

  • Hertz is hoping the pivot back to gas-powered vehicles will bolster its finances.
  • But the company warned today in an SEC filing that if "we are unable to sell our fleet" at anticipated prices, "cash infusions may be required," which "could materially adversely affect our financial condition and liquidity."

The impact: Hertz shares gained over 13% today, but they're down 66% on the year.

Flashback: Hertz filed for bankruptcy protection in 2020 when the pandemic cratered travel.

3. What's happening

🛒 Kroger's sales topped estimates, but the stock declined as the increase trailed the rate of inflation. (WSJ)

🍔 McDonald's confirmed it'll launch a $5 value meal next week. (Axios)

🤖 Target is rolling out a generative AI tool to aid its store workers. (Axios)

4. The curious case of the DJT memecoin

Martin Shkreli. Photo: Yuki Iwamura/Bloomberg via Getty Images

"TrumpCoin-gate," the question of who's behind a new crypto memecoin called DJT, has taken a wild turn.

Why it matters: DJT exploded in value in recent days on rumors that it had a real connection to the Trump family.

  • That sent a whole bunch of other Trump memecoins spiraling.

The latest: Blockchain research company Arkham Intelligence yesterday claimed to have solved the mystery. The token, it said, was created by… convicted "pharma bro" Martin Shkreli.

  • Shkreli isn't denying a hand in creating the token. But he's been claiming on X that he did so in an effort with several others, including the former president's youngest son, Barron.

5. Bye-bye plastic pillows

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Get a new hobby if you enjoy popping plastic air pillows from your Amazon packages — the company's aiming to trash the box fillers for good in North America by year-end.

Why it matters: The move, Amazon says today, will remove 15 billion plastic cushions annually from its shipping process — and from oceans and landfills.

  • The tech and logistics giant will use 100% recycled paper materials instead, which it says "offers the same, if not better, protection to products than plastic air pillows."

What we're watching: Roughly 95% of plastic air pillows have already been replaced in North American shipments. And come Prime Day next month, Amazon says virtually all deliveries will use recycled paper content.

Today's newsletter was edited by Pete Gannon and copy edited by Sheryl Miller.

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