Walgreens reportedly partnered with Theranos without checking its technology

Walgreens had a chance to validate Theranos’ blood-testing technology before entering into a partnership with them but never made that move, The Wall Street Journal reports.

In 2011, while meeting with Theranos’ CEO Elizabeth Holmes, Walgreens had the chance to have the company’s proprietary technology, which uses a small amount of blood, vetted by Johns Hopkins University researchers. The Journal reports that this didn’t happen, and Walgreens went ahead with a deal to offer Theranos services at thousands of its US drugstores. 

Citing interviews with Walgreens employees, Theranos employees and government documents, The Journal reports that Walgreens didn’t appear to be in the loop regarding the technology Theranos was using to run its blood tests, instead finding out key events through media reports.

Last week, The Journal reported that Theranos had voided or corrected tens of thousands of tests that it had run in 2014 and 2015. The Journal reports that Walgreens wasn’t aware of the decision to do this until the newspaper reported the story.

On Wednesday, Theranos was also hit by a lawsuit seeking class action status in California federal court by a patient who alleges the company falsely claimed it could test small samples of blood. 

“The lawsuit filed today against Theranos is without merit. The company will vigorously defend itself against these claims,” said Brooke Buchanan, Theranos spokeswoman.

Walgreens operates 40 of Theranos’ wellness centres in Arizona and one in California, which has been closed since a Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services inspection found problems with Theranos’ Northern California lab. Walgreens reportedly threatened to end its relationship with Theranos if the company didn’t get back into compliance with the agency.

Walgreens was not immediately available for comment.

Read The Journal’s account here

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