More bad news for blood analysis startup Theranos – Walgreens has suspended use of the company’s Newark, California lab, following news the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said that lab posed “immediate jeopardy” to patients.
Walgreens partners with Theranos, allowing the startup to collect blood draws out of many of the drug store’s Arizona locations and one in Palo Alto. The blood samples are then sent to Theranos labs.
Theranos has said the CMS findings were not related to its Arizona lab “where we currently process over 90 percent of our tests.”
Walgreens sent a statement to explain the action:
In light of the letter dated Jan. 25 from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to Theranos, Inc., Walgreens said today that it has informed Theranos that it must immediately cease sending any clinical laboratory tests provided through Theranos Wellness Centers at Walgreens 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.
Theranos has more recently had to retain services from outside labs to process some samples rather than use its own labs and machines, including ARUP Labs in Salt Lake City, Utah.
According to the Walgreens statement, all 40 Theranos Wellness Centers in Arizona “must be sent only to Theranos’ certified lab in the Phoenix area or to an accredited third-party lab for analysis.”
Walgreens opened up a task force to look into earlier claims regarding Theranos’ practices and an FDA investigation. Walgreens now says it is in discussions about the next steps in the relationship.