Walgreens Cuts Partnership With Blood-Testing Company Theranos

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Walgreens has officially announced that it is cutting its partnership with Theranos, which is a massive blow for the blood testing company that is currently under plenty of controversy. The drug retail giant said it is immediately closing down all 40 of the Theranos testing centers in its Arizona branches, which is the main source of Theranos’ customers, reports the New York Times.

Walgreens, which is part of the Walgreens Boots Alliance, was an integral part of Theranos’ early success. Theranos is a Silicon Valley start-up founded by Elizabeth Holmes, a former Stanford University student. Theranos promised to change the face of lab testing by offering blood tests through a simply finger prick at a greatly cheaper price compared to conventional testing methods.

However, Theranos encountered an unceasing barrage of negative publicity and criticism, which Walgreens has sought to distance itself from. Federal officials found numerous problems at Theranos’ flagship lab in California, causing Walgreens to stop testing there in January. The Arizona locations were kept open as Walgreens waited for a final decision from regulators, which included whether or not Holmes would be banned from the medical industry for two years. There has been no final decision yet, but Walgreens seems to have gotten tired of waiting.

A company statement was released, with senior vice-president Brad Fluegel saying,

In light of the voiding of a number of test results, and as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has rejected Theranos’s plan of correction and considers sanctions, we have carefully considered our relationship with Theranos and believe it is in our customers’ best interests to terminate our partnership.

When problems regarding Theranos’ testing procedures and equipment came to light in various government inspections and The Wall Street Journal articles, Walgreens asked Theranos for more information. The decision tells that the drug company is not satisfied with Theranos’ explanations.

Brooke Buchanan, spokesperson for Theranos, said their company would continue running their business in their stand-alone retail locations not in Walgreen stores. There are five Theranos stores in Arizona, one in California and expansion is in the works in Arizona.

“We are disappointed that Walgreens has chosen to terminate our relationship and remain fully committed to our mission to provide patients access to affordable health information,” Theranos said in a statement. “Quality and safety are our top priorities and we are working closely with government officials to ensure that we not only comply with all federal regulations but exceed them.”

Buchanan declined to comment any further than the statement given.

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