Walgreens terminates partnership with Theranos

Walgreens has terminated its nearly three-year partnership with Palo Alto, Calif.-based blood testing startup Theranos, according to The Wall Street Journal.

People familiar with the matter told WSJ that some officials at Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens Boots Alliance were frustrated by the lack of information Theranos provided after retracting tens of thousands of blood tests. The company voided them and issued corrected tests, many of which were performed on samples from patients at Walgreens pharamcies, according to WSJ.

On Sunday, Walgreens said it is ending its partnership with Theranos, effective immediately. Walgreens will also shut down Theranos lab-testing services at its locations.

"In light of the voiding of a number of test results, and as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has rejected Theranos's 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, Walgreens' senior vice president and chief healthcare commercial market development officer, said in a statement, according to WSJ.

This is a significant blow to Theranos, as its 40 blood-draw sites in Walgreens stores in Arizona were the startup's primary source of revenue.

"We are disappointed that Walgreens has chosen to terminate our relationship and remain fully committed to our mission to provide patients access to affordable health information and look forward to continuing to serve customers in Arizona and California through our retail locations," Theranos spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan told WSJ.

A person familiar with the matter told WSJ that Theranos has been exploring a partnership with another pharmacy or supermarket. The company may also open a blood-testing center in Arizona.

Last November, a CMS inspection revealed five major categories of infractions at Theranos' California lab. The company submitted a correction plan in February, but CMS concluded it was insufficient. CMS will soon decide whether to impose sanctions on Theranos, according to WSJ. In a March letter, CMS proposed pulling the blood testing startup's federal license and prohibiting Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes from owning or operating any other lab for at least two years.

More articles on Theranos:

Theranos recalls tens of thousands of tests: 7 things to know
Feds want to revoke Theranos' lab license, ban founder Elizabeth Holmes
Forbes: Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes now worth nothing, company worth $800M

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