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Walgreens Wants to Dump Theranos

The pharmacy retail giant is pushing to cut ties with the troubled blood-testing firm Theranos, which would require breaking its partnership contract.

Qmed Staff

Theranos CEO Holmes

Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes had received widespread adulation from media until late last year, when The Wall Street Journal published a series of negative articles about the company.  

Walgreens had been the biggest customer of Theranos but the Financial Times states that the company is hoping to close its 40 or so blood clinics that are mostly based at in retail locations in Arizona.

Theranos, however, reportedly believes that its contract with Walgreens will prevent the pharmacy from exiting.

Walgreens' actions were likely the result of its frustration with the mounting regulatory problems and negative press Theranos had received late last year and in early 2016. FDA chastised the company in a pair of 483s while CMS was even more negative in a report released last month that found that the company could be endangering patients.  

After the CMS warning, Walgreens had reportedly informed Theranos that it had 30 days to address its problems that, according to regulators, could pose "immediate jeopardy to patient health and safety."

At that point, Theranos had tried unsuccessfully to convince Theranos to suspend all of its blood tests while it instituted corrective measures to satisfy CMS, according to the Financial Times.

The paper stated that Walgreens executives were pessimistic that Theranos would be able to quickly address its regulatory deficiencies, citing anonymous sources. "They've been unhappy with the relationship and it's really a question of working through the contractual and legal arrangements," said one of the sources.

The Wall Street Journal had reported earlier that Theranos had seen a previous $350 million deal with the grocer Safeway fall apart last year.

Learn more about cutting-edge medical devices at BIOMEDevice Boston, April 13-14, 2016.

Brian Buntz is the editor-in-chief of MPMN and Qmed. Follow him on Twitter at @brian_buntz. 

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