Walgreens just asked Theranos to stop using its northern California lab to test blood

Elizabeth Holmes Theranos
Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes. WSJ

Walgreens isn’t pleased with Theranos.

The largest drug retailing chain in the United States said today that it has told the blood-testing company to stop using its Newark, California lab to run tests. It’s also suspending its Theranos Wellness Center services in Palo Alto, California.

Dow Jones is also reporting that Walgreens is considering a broader pullback from Theranos.

The news comes right after the Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services, one of the federal bodies that regulate laboratory blood tests, sent the company a letter released on Wednesday that accused Theranos of violating at least five clinical-laboratory regulations.

According to the letter, dated January 25, “it was determined that the deficient practices of the laboratory pose immediate jeopardy to patient health and safety.”

Other violations included issues with its testing systems and three instances of laboratory-personnel problems.

Here’s Walgreens’ statement:

In light of the letter dated Jan. 25 from the Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to Theranos, Inc., Walgreens said today that it has informed Theranos that it must immediately cease sending any clinical laboratory tests provided through Theranos Wellness Centres at Walgreens to the Theranos lab in Newark, Calif., for analysis. In addition, Walgreens is suspending Theranos laboratory services at its Palo Alto, Calif., store, effective immediately.

Walgreens informed Theranos that tests collected at 40 Theranos Wellness Centres located at stores in Arizona must be sent only to Theranos’ certified lab in the Phoenix area or to an accredited third-party lab for analysis. No patient samples will be sent to the Newark lab until all issues raised by CMS have been fully resolved.

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