Walgreens ends partnership with Theranos


The situation continues to look bleaker for Theranos after the company's biggest retail partner for its Edison blood testing technology, Walgreens Boots Alliance, has terminated its association with the company.

Walgreens will now close operations at all 40 Theranos Wellness Centers in Arizona.

The termination comes after months of speculation as to whether the two companies would continue their partnership following Theranos' decision to halt all testing at its Palo Alto, California location in January.

“In light of the voiding of a number of test results, and as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has rejected Theranos’ 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,” said Brad Fluegel, Walgreens Senior Vice President and Chief Health Care Commercial Market Development Officer.

The case of Theranos began in October last year when the company was ordered by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to stop using its 'nanotainer' tubes - Theranos' revolutionary technology intended to replace needles for blood testing with pinprick blood samples.

In January, Walgreens told Theranos to cease all testing at its Newark, California lab which at the time was under an ongoing review by the CMS.

The company was then the subject of a US criminal investigation in April for the potential crime of misleading government officials which led to both Walgreens and the New York State Department of Health receiving subpoenas seeking documentation and testimony in regards to the way Theranos represented its technology. It has also been under heavy scrutiny from the State Departments of Health in Pennsylvania and Arizona.

In May, Theranos' credibility took another hit after it voided two years of blood test results.

The CMS is to deliver its decision on possible sanctions in the next few weeks, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Although Theranos still has options to keep the business going, the loss of its biggest revenue generator may well be the beginning of the end for a company that, after raising $400 million in funding by the summer of 2014, was once worth an estimated $9 billion.

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Marco Ricci

14 June, 2016