Up to 30,000 Theranos test results voided; Walgreen dumps partnership

The story has become so dramatic, Hollywood may even make a movie about Elizabeth Holmes

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on print
Share on email

This is an excerpt from a 1,000-word article in the June 13 issue of THE DARK REPORT. The original article is available to paid members of the Dark Intelligence Group.  

Theranos test results imageEXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The disruptor’s plans have been thoroughly disrupted. As this issue of  THE DARK REPORT went to press, it was learned that Walgreens had announced the termination of its lab testing agreement with Theranos, effective immediately. Theranos loses access to about 40 Walgreens pharmacies in Phoenix and is left with about five patient collection centers.

It seems that Theranos won’t be partnering with any hospitals or health systems in the near – or possibly any – future, to provide cheap lab testing.

Of all the events of the last three weeks in the Theranos saga, of greatest interest to the laboratory medicine profession was the disclosure that two years of Theranos test results have been voided. On May 18, reporter John Carreyrou of The Wall Street Journal wrote, “Theranos Inc. has told federal health regulators that the company voided two years of results from its Edison blood-testing devices, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Two weeks later, on June 1, Forbes published a story declaring that it had revised its estimate of the net worth of Elizabeth Holmes, the founder and CEO of Theranos. It said, “Last year, Elizabeth Holmes topped the Forbes list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women with a net worth of $4.5 billion. Today, Forbes is lowering our estimate of her net worth to nothing. Theranos had no comment.”

Even as these events were hitting the national news, several media outlets reported that Theranos is now the defendant in at least three class action lawsuits. One of these Theranos lawsuits also names Walgreens as a defendant because the pharmacy company had allowed Theranos to use its retail pharmacies in California and Arizona to collect lab specimens from patients and consumers.

These new developments come on top of the media stories reported in April and May about how the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services had sent a letter to Theranos announcing its intent to impose the most severe sanctions for violations of CLIA, that the Department of Justice was investigating Theranos, and that the Securities and Exchange Commission had launched its own probe of the lab testing company.

Voiding two years of results

The disclosure that Theranos was voiding two years of lab test results, some of which were performed on its proprietary Edison analyzer, was a major blow to the company’s representations to the public in recent years that its lab testing services were of the highest quality.

Theranos claims these results represent less than 1% of the tests it conducted during those years. Educated estimates on the number of inaccurate tests sent to patients range from 8,900 to 30,000.

Meanwhile, news has broken that a movie about Theranos is in the works. People Magazine and Time were among the media outlets that reported the story. The director will be Adam McKay, recognized for such movies as “The Big Short” and “Anchorman.” A popular leading actress is supposed to be tapped to play the role of Elizabeth Holmes.

What do you believe will be the fallout from thousands of inaccurate Theranos test results on patients’ treatment? Please share your insights with us in the comments below.


Leave a Reply