Theranos bins two years of test results

Can blood-testing company survive latest revelation?

The controversial blood-testing company Theranos has voided two years of results and issued tens of thousands of corrected reports, further undermining its credibility and raising serious questions over its future.

The discarded results were run both on traditional testing machines and on Theranos' "revolutionary" Edison machines, whose claimed efficacy was behind a $9bn valuation of the Silicon Valley company.

However, Theranos admitted to regulators that not one of its tests carried out on the Edison machines in 2014 and 2015 stand, and all have been corrected.

The news, broken by The Wall Street Journal, lends yet more weight to the paper's earlier report that claimed the Edison machines were unreliable and the company was using traditional testing machines for most of its work. Soon after the report came out, the company stopped using its special machines altogether.

The massive correction of tests – which have impacted doctors and patients across the United States – is unprecedented and just the latest effort by the company to avoid official censure by health regulators the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The CMS has threatened to shut down the company's California testing facility and ban Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes from running such a facility for two years over "serious deficiencies" that it had found.

Not so sunny

Earlier this month, the company announced that its president and chief operating officer Sunny Balwani was "retiring," in a move widely seen as an attempt by Holmes – who owns 50 per cent of the company – to stay in her job. The CMS will shortly make a final decision on whether to impose sanctions against Theranos.

Last month, Theranos admitted it is also being investigated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the US Attorney's Office over claims it misled investors and government officials.

The Wall Street Journal tracked down a number of doctors' practices that had been impacted by the corrected reports, and gave one example of a doctor sending a patient to the emergency room due to abnormally elevated test results. The corrected report showed that the levels were in fact perfectly normal.

On top of having lost credibility with the medical profession, the bulk of Theranos' work may also dry up if Walgreens decides to go through with its threat to end its relationship with the company if the health regulator does not give the company a green light.


A Theranos spokeswoman told the paper in response to its questions: "Excellence in quality and patient safety is our top priority and we've taken comprehensive corrective measures to address the issues CMS raised in their observations. As these matters are currently under review, we have no further comment at this time."

Meanwhile the name Theranos has itself become a byline for a tech company that misleads people over what its technology can do. ®

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • DigitalOcean tries to take sting out of price hike with $4 VM
    Cloud biz says it is reacting to customer mix largely shifting from lone devs to SMEs

    DigitalOcean attempted to lessen the sting of higher prices this week by announcing a cut-rate instance aimed at developers and hobbyists.

    The $4-a-month droplet — what the infrastructure-as-a-service outfit calls its virtual machines — pairs a single virtual CPU with 512 MB of memory, 10 GB of SSD storage, and 500 GB a month in network bandwidth.

    The launch comes as DigitalOcean plans a sweeping price hike across much of its product portfolio, effective July 1. On the low-end, most instances will see pricing increase between $1 and $16 a month, but on the high-end, some products will see increases of as much as $120 in the case of DigitalOceans’ top-tier storage-optimized virtual machines.

    Continue reading
  • GPL legal battle: Vizio told by judge it will have to answer breach-of-contract claims
    Fine-print crucially deemed contractual agreement as well as copyright license in smartTV source-code case

    The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) has won a significant legal victory in its ongoing effort to force Vizio to publish the source code of its SmartCast TV software, which is said to contain GPLv2 and LGPLv2.1 copyleft-licensed components.

    SFC sued Vizio, claiming it was in breach of contract by failing to obey the terms of the GPLv2 and LGPLv2.1 licenses that require source code to be made public when certain conditions are met, and sought declaratory relief on behalf of Vizio TV owners. SFC wanted its breach-of-contract arguments to be heard by the Orange County Superior Court in California, though Vizio kicked the matter up to the district court level in central California where it hoped to avoid the contract issue and defend its corner using just federal copyright law.

    On Friday, Federal District Judge Josephine Staton sided with SFC and granted its motion to send its lawsuit back to superior court. To do so, Judge Staton had to decide whether or not the federal Copyright Act preempted the SFC's breach-of-contract allegations; in the end, she decided it didn't.

    Continue reading
  • US brings first-of-its-kind criminal charges of Bitcoin-based sanctions-busting
    Citizen allegedly moved $10m-plus in BTC into banned nation

    US prosecutors have accused an American citizen of illegally funneling more than $10 million in Bitcoin into an economically sanctioned country.

    It's said the resulting criminal charges of sanctions busting through the use of cryptocurrency are the first of their kind to be brought in the US.

    Under the United States' International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEA), it is illegal for a citizen or institution within the US to transfer funds, directly or indirectly, to a sanctioned country, such as Iran, Cuba, North Korea, or Russia. If there is evidence the IEEA was willfully violated, a criminal case should follow. If an individual or financial exchange was unwittingly involved in evading sanctions, they may be subject to civil action. 

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022