KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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In Latest Blow To Theranos, Walgreens Halts Use Of California Lab

Walgreens said the blood testing startup "must immediately cease sending any clinical laboratory tests" to the company's Palo Alto lab, which is facing federal scrutiny for deficient practices that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services say pose immediate jeopardy to patient health and safety.

The New York Times: Walgreens Says No Customers’ Tests Will Be Done At Theranos Lab In California
Walgreens, the giant drugstore chain, offered the latest vote of no confidence for Theranos, the Silicon Valley laboratory testing company it had collaborated with to offer blood tests for some of its customers. In a statement issued on Thursday, Walgreens said that none of the tests for its customers could be performed at Theranos’s Newark, Calif., laboratory, which federal regulators just cited for violations of clinical standards. Walgreens said it was also suspending Theranos laboratory testing at its Palo Alto, Calif., store. (Abelson, 1/29) Chronicle: Walgreens Pumps The Brakes On Theranos Partnership Amid Problematic Lab Audit
In a statement, Walgreens -- Theranos’s first retail partner, which operates blood-testing centers in 40 locations throughout Arizona and one in Palo Alto, Calif. -- said that Theranos “must immediately cease sending any clinical laboratory tests…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.” (Weiss, 1/28)

KQED: Walgreens Suspends Theranos Blood-Testing At Palo Alto Store
Theranos responded to news of the CMS findings by stating that the agency’s inspection took place last year, and that the report doesn’t reflect current practices. The Silicon Valley company also said it is taking corrective steps. Theranos Vice President of Communications Brooke Buchanan said in an email statement today that, “We look forward to continuing to work with Walgreens to provide access to reliable, high quality, and low-cost lab testing services.” (Brooks, 1/28)

CNN Money: Walgreens Cracks Down On Theranos
Walgreens is Theranos' big retail partner: It has more than 40 Theranos Wellness Centers in its stores. But it's not clear how much of an impact dropping the Newark lab will have, since Theranos said that it processes 90% of its tests in its Arizona lab. (O'Brien, 1/28)

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