Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that Walgreens isn’t opening any new Theranos blood-testing centres until the company answers some questions about its finger-prick test technology.
But on Monday, Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes told Fortune’s Alan Murray at the Fortune Global Forum that that’s not what she heard.
“Well they haven’t said that to us,” she said. “We’re talking with them, and we were at a point where we’d completed our rollout in Phoenix, and we’re looking at what the next steps in that relationship are they have been a great partner with us in the context of our work in Phoenix.”
That’s similar to what Walgreens has said publicly as well: “With the completion of our Phoenix rollout that was part of our current agreement with Theranos, we are currently in discussions about the next phase of our relationship,” Walgreens spokesman Michael Malzin said last month. “Plans to open more Theranos Wellness Centres are dependent upon both companies’ ability to reach a mutually beneficial arrangement.”
Theranos lists 41 Walgreens locations in Arizona — 13 in Phoenix — that have the company’s signature “Wellness Centres,” as well as one Walgreens location in Palo Alto, California. The blood-testing company is also partnering with Capital BlueCross to open these testing centres in Pennsylvania.
While it isn’t a clear pause in the relationship between Theranos and Walgreens, it also doesn’t seem as if the partnership is moving full steam ahead to open new centres just yet.
And if they do, it might come with more transparency for Walgreens on how Theranos conducts its tests and when it runs into potential regulatory trouble with the FDA, which The Journal reported as the main reasons Walgreens was pulling back the reigns on the partnersnip.
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