February 25, 2019 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News

Quest Diagnostics sold its clinical laboratory business in India last December, thus ending a 12-year effort to build a thriving business in that nation of 1.3 billion people. The buyer was Strand Life Sciences of Bengaluru, India. The transaction was announced in a press release issued by Quest Diagnostics and no purchase price was disclosed.

MORE ON: Quest India

It was back in 2007 when Suriya Mohapatra, then CEO of Quest Diagnostics, announced ambitious plans to open a Quest Diagnostics laboratory business in India. At that time, Quest executives regularly predicted that the company could rapidly grow that business to US$1 billion per year. Paul Rust, who had worked at SmithKline Beecham Clinical Labs and then Quest after it acquired SBCL, was named country manager and given the unenviable task of building the business in India. In 2007, UnitedHealthcare gave Laboratory Corporation of America a 10-year exclusive national contract and excluded Quest from national provider status. Many  in the lab industry thought Mohapatra’s decision to build a lab business in India was one way to divert attention away from his company’s loss of the UnitedHealthcare contract.

SWISS POST DRONE CRASHES WITH LAB SPECIMENS

After announcing it intended to transport medical lab specimens by drone last year, Swiss Post, the postal service of Switzerland, was doing pilot tests of the drones when on Feb. 20, a drone carrying “non-relevant” blood samples crashed in Lake Zurich. Swiss Post announced it would stop drone flights while it analyzed this failure.

TRANSITIONS

  • As of Jan. 1, Jerry Hussong MD, MBA, became the new CEO of Sonic Healthcare USA. Previously, Hussong has worked at ARUP Laboratories, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Laboratory Medicine Consultants, University of Utah, and Northwestern Medical Center.
  • Steve Schumpert retired as CEO of Sonic Healthcare, USA, of Austin, Texas, on Dec. 31, 2018. Schumpert had previously held executive positions at Clinical Pathology Laboratories, Louisiana Reference Laboratories, SmithKline Beecham Clinical Laboratories, and International Clinical Labs.
  • Providence Health Care of Spokane, Wash., appointed Bill Remillard as Director of its laboratory operations. He formerly held executive positions at TriCore Reference Laboratories, PAML, and ARUP Laboratories.

That’s all the insider intelligence for this report.
Look for the next briefing on Monday, March 18, 2019.

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…the closure of rural, for-profit hospitals at an “alarming rate.” This trend, coupled with Medicare lab price cuts that are eroding the finances of community labs serving rural areas, means patient access to quality lab testing is diminishing.

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