Walgreens enters clinical lab service partnership

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DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreen Co. has teamed with Theranos Inc. to offer a less-invasive and more affordable clinical lab testing service through its stores.

The companies said Monday that under a long-term partnership, Theranos’ new lab testing service will be rolled out via Theranos Wellness Centers inside Walgreens stores. The offering will enable consumers to receive clinician-directed lab testing from a blood sample as small as a few drops, or 1/1,000 the size of a typical blood draw.

According to Theranos, the samples are taken from a tiny finger stick or a micro-sample taken from traditional methods, eliminating the need for larger needles and numerous vials of blood required for most diagnostic lab testing.

Plans call for the service to launch this month with the opening of the first Theranos Wellness Center location at Walgreens’ store on 300 University Ave. in Palo Alto, Calif., in the heart of Silicon Valley. The service is slated to be rolled out to Walgreens stores nationwide.

"Theranos’ service offers affordable certified lab testing with quicker response times and furthers our mission to provide a differentiated patient experience," Kermit Crawford, president of pharmacy, health and wellness at Walgreens, said in a statement. "This is the next step in Walgreens’ efforts to transform community pharmacy, giving our patients and customers convenient access to the comprehensive care they need, right in their communities."

Theranos noted that for the first time it’s introducing CLIA-certified laboratory services with the ability to run its tests on micro-samples. The company said its proprietary laboratory infrastructure minimizes human error through extensive automation to produce high-quality results. Test results are available to doctors in hours, enabling fast diagnoses to help informed treatment choices.

In addition, Theranos said its tests are low-cost, always 50% of Medicare reimbursement rates or less, and are reimbursed by major insurance carriers, Medicare and Medicaid.

"For the past 10 years, Theranos has worked relentlessly to reach a point at which we could help make actionable information accessible to physicians and patients at the time it matters most. Clinicians can now see their patients having received lab results from fresh samples in a matter of hours," stated Elizabeth Holmes, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Theranos. "This partnership will further our goal to bring high-quality, affordable lab testing to people everywhere, with our new Wellness Centers in Walgreens retail locations closest to homes and workplaces."

Collection for Theranos tests will be performed in Theranos Wellness Centers by licensed phlebotomists or appropriately state certified personnel.



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