Closing operations at all 40 Theranos Wellness Centers in Arizona
Walgreens said Sunday evening that the move follows the company’s decision in January to halt Theranos laboratory testing services at its Palo Alto, Calif., location, and means that the drug chain will no longer offer Theranos services at any of its stores.
“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,” Brad Fluegel, senior vice president and chief health care commercial market development officer at Walgreens, said in a statement.
In January, Walgreens informed Theranos that it had to immediately cease sending clinical laboratory tests provided through its Wellness Centers at Walgreens to the Theranos lab in Newark, Calif., which has been the subject of ongoing CMS review.
At the same time, Walgreens informed Theranos that tests collected at its Wellness Centers at Walgreens stores in Arizona must be sent only to Theranos’ certified lab in the Phoenix area or to an accredited third-party lab for analysis. No patient samples were to be sent to the Newark lab until all issues raised by CMS have been fully resolved, Walgreens said.
Walgreens indicated in late October that it was re-examining its partnership with Theranos, whose technology and founder, Elizabeth Holmes, have come under scrutiny in the media.
The Theranos service enables consumers to receive clinician-directed lab testing from a small blood sample taken via finger stick or a micro-sample taken from traditional methods. The Palo Alto-based company’s technology has been seen as a potential breakthrough in lab testing because it would eliminate the need for larger needles and numerous vials of blood as required for most diagnostic lab tests — as well as provide results much faster and at a much lower cost.
Walgreens and Theranos announced a partnership in 2013 in which Theranos Wellness Centers would be rolled out to Walgreens stores nationwide. Theranos centers were opened at 40 Walgreens stores in the Phoenix market following the opening of the first center in September 2013 at a Walgreens store in Palo Alto.