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Biotech Businesses Medicine The Almighty Buck

Disruptive Bloodwork Startup May Offer Mostly Vaporware 174

dmr001 writes: As seen previously, Palo Alto startup Theranos planned to put the power of affordable lab work directly in the hands of patients with tiny fingerprick samples taken at Walgreen's, with four hour turnaround. The company claimed their tests were "made possible by advances in the field of microfluidics." But they were cagey about methodology and didn't use FDA approved analyzers.

Now, the Wall Street Journal reports (paywalled) (among others) that all but one of Theranos' analyzers currently in use is off the shelf, and that their tiny samples may not always have been accurate. Typically cagey founder Elizabeth Holmes vigorously disputes the criticism of her $9 billion startup, but entrenched players like Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp (which do quite well charging orders of magnitude above Theranos' prices) are likely doing a happy dance.

Physicians worrying about patients bringing in their own carcinoembryonic antigen levels and Epstein Barr Virus panels to confirm their Internet diagnoses of cancer and chronic fatigue may also be breathing sighs of relief, albeit with bittersweet regret at the potential loss of the price advantage and milliliter samples.
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Disruptive Bloodwork Startup May Offer Mostly Vaporware

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  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @06:41PM (#50755157) Homepage

    that all but one of Theranos' analyzers currently in use is off the shelf,

    What. Wait.... Is it supposed to be on the shelf? Is there something missing?

    TFA in Business Insider just complained about the membership of the Board of Directors (which is weird).

    And finally, ** 10 billion dollars ** for a startup that does essentially the same thing as everybody else but maybe undercuts price and probably violates the law in 45 states?

    I'm in the wrong business.

    • by dmr001 ( 103373 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @06:55PM (#50755213)

      Theranos' "Edison" analyzer is purported to allow accurate, cheap testing with tiny sample sizes. They haven't revealed a lot about how it works [techinsider.io]. This is in contrast to standard analyzers which cost more (well, they charge more), need your typical 10 ml Vacutainer sample, and have lengthy turnaround times. It turns out Theranos has recently been using standard, commercially-available analyzers for most of its tests, and had to dilute its samples to do so, apparently compromising accuracy.

      As the OP, I'm hopeful Theranos now can pull up out of this apparent nosedive, and publish controlled analyses in larger, controlled trials in a peer-reviewed journal. Then the real miracle will be integrating their results with everyone's frickin' EMR.

      • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @08:20PM (#50755465) Homepage

        Ten billion dollars based on a system that has been purposely obfuscated?
        I am definitely in the wrong business.

        Most of the commercial analyzers only need a couple of hundred microliters. They get 5 cc or so out of the patient because it's easy, rarely is problematic (except in tiny infants when the only draw a cc or so) and allows for repeats and storage (the Illuminati needs to get its samples from somewhere. And they really only take a few minutes to run. The big time waster is paperwork, spinning the sample to get rid of red and white blood cells and batching the samples to lower cost.

        Fingerstick samples (Capillary blood) are somewhat problematic in that the normal values aren't necessarily the same as in serum samples. But that can be controlled for.

        Ten billion dollars?

        I quit....

        • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <`delirium-slashdot' `at' `hackish.org'> on Sunday October 18, 2015 @09:03PM (#50755653)

          The company really seems, from the outside, to be in one of those self-powering ascents at the moment. They got some money, with which they got influential people on board, with which they got more money, etc. And it definitely helps that they signed on Walgreens as a customer, too, which makes it look like it has a real business, not entirely vaporware.

          The board is really absurdly packed with political heavyweights though, to the point where it tips over from looking like "impressive board" to weird and kind of suspicious. I mean one of their directors is Henry Kissinger. Not just someone with the same name, either, the Henry Kissinger, Richard Nixon's Secretary of State who is now 91 years old.

          • by rwyoder ( 759998 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @10:53PM (#50756035)

            The board is really absurdly packed with political heavyweights though, to the point where it tips over from looking like "impressive board" to weird and kind of suspicious. I mean one of their directors is Henry Kissinger. Not just someone with the same name, either, the Henry Kissinger, Richard Nixon's Secretary of State who is now 91 years old.

            No kidding! When I was reading a recent article, Theranos sound almost too good to be true, but when I read who was on the board, warning bells went off. What the hell do a bunch of political and military people know about medicine???
            Here is a link to the Board of Directors. Click on the name of each to get a page about their background: http://www.bloomberg.com/resea... [bloomberg.com]

            • by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @09:28AM (#50757511)

              A heavyweight board represents market diffusion. Think of what this might mean for military field operations, battlefield hospitals, trauma units, insurance companies and co-insurers, the financial people behind all of these.

              Should the device actually work as described, and become evolved, and its patent lives can be extended, it's both a diagnostic miracle, and a forensic examiner's best friend.

              So, like many other ostensible miracles-in-the-making, a heavyweight board gets to snack on the profits. And maybe purchasers get the rapid diagnostics they need for accurate care plans. Maybe. Maybe. That the process is opaque means that there is much patent and IP law to be considered, too.

          • it tips over from looking like "impressive board" to weird and kind of suspicious

            I saw it described as "The Illuminati" on another message board. Personally, I automatically distrust anything associated with Kissinger - in a decent and just world, he'd be serving out a life sentence.

      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        Before I went on my current wanderlust, I stopped in to see my doctor and had them run a pile of blood tests, shoot me up with antibiotics and give me all my shots - in case I bite someone, I want them to know that I'm safe. They took out 14 tubes of blood and I have some pretty crappy veins (for a variety of reasons) so it was a pain in the ass. I was kind of wondering why it still needed so much blood these days. I'd figure they'd need even less.

        Anyhow, clean on all counts and I'm told I've the constituti

    • And finally, ** 10 billion dollars ** for a startup

      Which is in grossly overvalued like most other damned startups.

      It's utterly shocking how often a company with no actual revenues is suddenly valued for billions of dollars.

      Honestly, either the people giving these valuations are either grossly incompetent to make them, or know damned well they're part of the ponzi scheme. It's billions and billions of monopoly money, pulled out of their asses, and sold off to unsuspecting customers.

      At this point I assume th

      • Which is in grossly overvalued like most other damned startups.

        The value of disruptive startups is measured differently to established businesses. If this company has a 10% chance of growing to control a $100bn industry, then it's valued correctly. That doesn't mean that the most likely outcome isn't that it will crash and burn, it means that it's a the high-risk, high-returns end of investments.

  • by DRJlaw ( 946416 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @06:43PM (#50755161)

    But they were cagey about methodology and didn't use FDA approved analyzers.

    Further proof that, far more often than not, "disruptive" means ignoring the law for as long as humanly possible while hoping that your competitors can't (or won't) follow suit.

    I can't wait for "disruptive" medicine as practiced by anyone with internet access and a hyperlink to WebMD.

    • Further proof that, far more often than not, "disruptive" means ignoring the law for as long as humanly possible while hoping that your competitors can't (or won't) follow suit.

      Uber...

    • But they were cagey about methodology and didn't use FDA approved analyzers.

      Further proof that, far more often than not, "disruptive" means ignoring the law for as long as humanly possible while hoping that your competitors can't (or won't) follow suit.

      I can't wait for "disruptive" medicine as practiced by anyone with internet access and a hyperlink to WebMD.

      WebMD is much too reputable. It'd need to be a site with a lot of medical technobabble covering up the fact that the claims are utterly ludicrous, if you know what the words being bandied about and the technology and methodology, the sort of site Quackwatch would rip to entertaining shreds. I doubt the entrenched players were even worried, and if they were it certainly wasn't over the competition but splash damage once the con got publicly outed.

    • by willworkforbeer ( 924558 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @07:18PM (#50755283)

      I can't wait for "disruptive" medicine as practiced by anyone with internet access and a hyperlink to WebMD.

      Hey, that my HMO you're talking about, buddy.

    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      Rarely a week goes by where you couldn't post the title "Disruptive Startup fails to deliver". And you'd be right every time.
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by sjames ( 1099 )

      According to TFA, they are NOT currently using the devices the FDA hasn't approved. They are still an order of magnitude cheaper than the competition.

      Keep in mind, the FDA is griping about the container that holds the blood. Apparently it hasn't yet been plated with pure unobtanium or something.

      There seems to be more consternation among investor types that want to see a magic widget rather than a simple play at cost and efficiency taking the market by competing on price.

    • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

      Further proof that, far more often than not, "disruptive" means ignoring the law for as long as humanly possible while hoping that your competitors can't (or won't) follow suit.

      Interesting fact: 100% of currently FDA approved analyzers were unapproved while being developed.

    • "Disruptive" means hacking around a legal regime that is mainly set up to lock out competition.

  • by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @06:55PM (#50755215) Homepage Journal
    Anything to disrupt Quest Diagnostics. I wouldn't use this new outfit because they sound sort of shady, but I won't do business with Quest either. Their prices are insanely high, and they always automatically bill the patient first instead of billing the insurance because they know the insurance will adjust it down to a contracted reasonable price. I have had to spend thousands of dollars of my time on the phone with this company just to get them to bill the insurance company. They have threatened me with debt collection over a debt which I would have happily paid if only they would submit it to the insurance company so I knew how much I actually owed. I certainly didn't owe them the full amount they stated. I have repeatedly told doctors not not to send my bloodwork to Quest, but I guess they are a monopoly or the doctors get kickbacks because they always send the bloodwork to them, without first getting signoff from you about which tests will be performed or getting agreement to pay from you.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They probably send it to Quest because Quest basically hands out medical record software connections to their order system like candy.

      I develop interfaces with labs for an EMR company. Out of all the labs I've dealt with in this country, Quest is the only one where I can go to their website, fill in a form, and have a connection between a doctor and that laboratory done in days-to-weeks. Other labs, even labs I've dealt with for years, connecting a single client with the same software every other client i

      • So in other words, their security sucks, and breaches are bound to happen?

        Thanks, now I know who not to go to.

        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          I am not the only one who read it that way... All of my lab work gets done at the local hospital (sort of local) in-house or in-house at the VA. i usually just go to the local doctors if I need something. I can afford it and it is much closer than the VA though the VA tells me they'll cover some of the services but I've yet to look into it. I'm paying regardless, be it taxes or directly.

    • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @08:13PM (#50755435) Journal

      Let's be realistic here: medical insurance in the USA is a rip-off. Unfortunately, it's also necessary.

      I suspect that those co-pays are in many cases all the the provider actually gets. In other words, my company and I pay something north of $20k/year for what is mostly a glorified discount program.

      What happens is that the provider bills some amount (say $100 for example), the patient pays a 10% copay and then the total bill is discounted by 90%, so the insurance company actually pays zero. There is a bonus for the providers: they get the full cut from patients who have not met their annual deductible.

      I wonder if some of the arrangements are legal: when I phone one medical provider for a discount on a $600 bill for an office visit, I was told that they had an agreement with the insurance company so they could not discount. In other words, two companies agree that a third party cannot get discounts: sounds like something that an anti-trust regulator should investigator should look into.

      There was another insult following that conversation when I asked for a discount: my entire bill was sent to a debt collector, including some items for which I had not received the bill. Scum. I paid the debt collector instead of the medical practice on the basis that the medical practice that did this would get less money out of the deal

      • by Octorian ( 14086 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @08:27PM (#50755503) Homepage

        And yet, whenever the healthcare reform debate comes up in the US, it seems as if *both* sides of the political isle managed to *completely* ignore everything you just said when formulating their respective outrages and talking points. If only this problem was actually dealt with (and the situation would likely be illegal in any other industry), people wouldn't be so financially dependent on health insurance providers in the first place.

        • by sociocapitalist ( 2471722 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @09:36AM (#50757545)

          And yet, whenever the healthcare reform debate comes up in the US, it seems as if *both* sides of the political isle managed to *completely* ignore everything you just said when formulating their respective outrages and talking points. If only this problem was actually dealt with (and the situation would likely be illegal in any other industry), people wouldn't be so financially dependent on health insurance providers in the first place.

          I am an American living in France.

          When I go see a doctor, I pay 20 euros. However much else there is to be paid is paid directly by the state.

          I recently saw a specialist surgeon for my knee. Cost me 60 euros. No idea how much he got paid by the state and I couldn't care less.

          That same surgeon did my knee ligament and a bit of meniscus, both damaged during a fall skiing last year. In one day, out the next day, latest medical advances (tiny scar, everything done by camera - I even got a video afterwards). Cost me something like 330 euros. Can't remember exactly how much but when I said "Oh my god" it was out of shock that the bill was so small, not that I would have to sell my kidney to be able to pay it.

          Do I pay higher taxes?

          Yes.

          Do I get something for my taxes?

          Yes. In fact, not only do I get almost free excellent medical care - my kid will get excellent free university (assuming he passes the competitive exams which I'm quite confident about).

          No immense student debt hanging over his head.

          No getting fucked by the medical and insurance industries.

          I have no problem at all about the taxes I pay now versus what I did living in the US.

          I wish I could bottle up this experience and jam it down the throat of every idiot that says 'socialized medicine bad thing big government blah blah blah fucking blah). Instead to them I say - come live over here for a year and experience just how GOOD it is to not get completely fucked over when you go to the doctors.

          • It isn't socialized medicine Americans fear, it is socialized medicine run by the same government that runs the VA.

      • You say insurance is a rip-off. Amen to that.

        But you also say that is "necessary"... You mention following epithets: Debt collection scum, considering anti-trust regulators, calling them a glorified discount program.

        Yet all of this "necessary"?

        Insurance is a relatively new invention, and like, many new inventions, are not necessarily designed to defend consumers.

        In medieval ages Arab medicine was considered one of the best in the world. Chinese medicine was also highly advanced. All of the medicine prior to

        • by schnell ( 163007 )

          All of the medicine prior to the XX century, whether advanced or not, had one thing in common and it was pay-as-you-go-basis.

          You know what else medicine had in common prior to the 20th century? People died early and often. As late as the 19th century in the US, surgery frequently involved a saw and they didn't even know to wash their hands before performing it. They had no concept of the role of sterilization or even cleaning wounds in preventing infection. No x-rays, no anesthesia (other than a slug of whiskey), no medications - no wonder it was cheap. The rural county doctor could make a 25 cent house call on you because he did

          • While you've got some raging inaccuracies--for example, the first malpractice crisis in the US was in the 19th century (citation [nih.gov]) and it goes about 4000 years from now (citation [nih.gov])--you've very accurate in the summation. The amount of technology, skill, and training--and the amount of things we can treat, no less cure--has soared.

            I'd say part of what needs reform though is the fact that the costs are being shifted away from the consumer, however. The effects of moral hazards--where the costs of a risk are d

            • Because it's such a failure in every other country that's tried it?

              You need to get out and travel more

              • Because it's such a failure in every other country that's tried it?

                You need to get out and travel more

                I probably have gotten out and spent more time in other countries than you have--and I tend to keep up with how well it actually goes. In the countries that have tried it, it's worked out best when they've already successfully gotten rid of most of their ethnic minorities and have a collectivist culture, things that certainly cannot be said for the US--and this basically means that if there's any reason why you might not take too well to the local standard, even if you're in a First World country it might

        • Funny you should mention barbers as that gets into an interesting story about the origin of the barber's pole, and that barbers way back when performed surgery.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      • by lucm ( 889690 )

        In other words, my company and I pay something north of $20k/year for what is mostly a glorified discount program.

        Forcing people to buy healthcare coupons. That's Obamacare in a nutshell. All this for the low low price of 120 billions per year.

      • by TR NS ( 4242885 )
        "Unfortunately, it's also necessary." It is not.
        • "Unfortunately, it's also necessary." It is not.

          You know what the leading cause of bankruptcy is in the USA? Healthcare bills. I have assets to protect, therefore I need insurance.

      • Let's be realistic here: medical insurance in the USA is a rip-off. Unfortunately, it's also necessary.

        No, not it is not. Health care is necessary. Health insurance is a scam. Single-payer health care makes it unnecessary. Instead, we got single-law health insurance. Whoopeeshit! Guess what, I can't afford it. It's cheaper to go out of the country for even basic health care. Mexico is right there.

    • There is no requirement that you have your blood-work done at Quest. You may have your blood-work done at any facilitate of your choice. If your doctor electronically sends the request to Quest you can have it transferred to any other facility. I personally have frequently transfer my blood request to different facilities all the time.

      Also, Quest does not automatically bill the patient first.

      Stop blaming your doctor for your own incompetence.

      • by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @10:13PM (#50755925) Homepage Journal

        Also, Quest does not automatically bill the patient first.

        Yes, they do. I go to the doctor, they have my insurance information, they send in the bill to the insurance, I get a bill from the provider. The provider sends bloodwork off to a lab of their choosing (despite my objections), the lab has my insurance information, they send me a bill. They don't bill the insurance, I call them, they don't bill the insurance, I call some more, I send letters, they don't bill the insurance. Eventually, they start threatening collections. But how can you collect on an amount when you don't know how much that person owes because you have not yet billed their insurance plan?

        Stop blaming your doctor for your own incompetence.

        I'm incompetent? I don't work at the doctor's office. How do I control who they send their labwork to. I can and have told them not to send the bloodwork to Quest. They do it anyway. You don't get to decide where it goes, you don't get to just "send" it yourself. The doctor's won't give you your bloodwork even though it came out of your body and they technically should have to get your permission to do anything with it.
        I guess you like you getting gang raped by the insurance/doctor/lab companies and that is why you act as an apologist for them.

        • by PrimaryConsult ( 1546585 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @11:28PM (#50756139)

          I don't understand your problem. My doctor just writes me a bloodwork prescription, I walk it over to the local LabCorp, less than a week later the doctor has the results in hand. If you don't like where your doctor is sending your test results to, just ask for a prescription to go and do it yourself. If the doctor refuses, find another doctor.

        • Stop blaming your doctor for your own incompetence.

          I'm incompetent? I don't work at the doctor's office. How do I control who they send their labwork to. I can and have told them not to send the bloodwork to Quest. They do it anyway. You don't get to decide where it goes, you don't get to just "send" it yourself..

          I will make it more explicit. For example, say your favourite test facility is Labcorp:

          1. If your doctor writes you a requisition on a paper Quest form, take the form to Labcorp and Labcorp will do the bloodwork.
          2. If your doctor sends an electronic requisition to Quest, walk into Labcorp and tell them to transfer your requisition from Quest. Labcorp will then do the bloodwork.

          If you can't follow these instructions you are incompetent.

        • The doctor's won't give you your bloodwork even though it came out of your body and they technically should have to get your permission to do anything with it.

          You have a right to request your medical records. You need to do that, instead of telling us what the doctors won't do. Do it in writing.

    • When I compare Asian blood labs for tests' prices using new US-Euro equipment, the Quest prices are 10x higher. Rip off.
    • by bkr1_2k ( 237627 )

      You need new doctors, and you need to start taking your lab work where you want it done. There's no requirement that your blood be drawn at your doctor's office. Hell get the doctor to write the paperwork up (which he/she has to do anyway) and give it to you then go wherever the hell you want to get the bloodwork done. Doctor has no say in the matter.

      That said, I've never been "pre-billed" by Quest so maybe it's something about where you're at, rather than the company as a whole. Their prices are ridicu

    • Quest and Labcorp are the only games in town around here. I can't say that I have ever had a problem with either one. I set an appointment, show up 5 minutes before hand and fill out the paperwork. I do my thing and never even think about the lab again. I've never received a bill from any of them. A few weeks later, I get a copy of the lab report in the mail from my doctor. It's entirely painless.
  • by queazocotal ( 915608 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @06:56PM (#50755221)

    Even the best testing panels have only found markers for CFS in a statistical manner.
    That is - you take a hundred people with CFS, a hundred people without CFS, and you can with certainty tell which group is which.
    However, you can't with any useful result test a single individual.
    The false positive rate is 45%, and the false negative rate is 45% or so.

    CFS is not one disease, it is almost certainly many.

    • CFS may also be a number of other issues masking under a single misnomer. Most people I know of who claim to have CFS have this in common: a form of (clinical) depression, a form of mistrust in science or scientific medicine (homeopathic, vegetarian or other 'alternative medicine' nuts) and denial about the above.

      A friend of my mother has a family of sufferers. They have the lifestyle and symptoms of heavy metal poisoning (live in ancient houses, minimal home upkeep and do antique restoration) they claim CF

      • by queazocotal ( 915608 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @07:42PM (#50755347)

        There are issues around CFS and the DSM.

        I was an otherwise healthy child until about age 12, when one month to the next I became extremely fatigued, with other symptoms.
        This is not depression - I can be doing something I enjoy for 15 minutes, and my thinking gets gradually muddier. I enjoy cooking.
        Often I cannot successfully make a bacon omelette due to fatigue and irrationality that comes on when doing a task as small as this.

        Imagine a 15 minute task tires you as much as a 36 hour one.
        Not everyone is so affected, and there are likely many other related syndromes all lumped together with different etiologies.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu... [nih.gov] - for example.
        CONCLUSIONS:

        Severe CFS/ME patients differed from controls and moderate CFS/ME patients over time and expressed significant alterations in iNKT cell phenotypes, CD8(+)T cell markers, NK cell receptors and T cells at 6 months. This highlights the importance of further assessing these potential immune biomarkers longitudinally in both moderate and severe CFS/ME patients.

        I wish something rather easier to bear had happened at age 12, for example losing both legs.

        • have you seen a good chiropractor? Find one who views the nervous system like an organic data network and can talk about cognitive load. I had a neck injury and it caused more than a month of fuzzy-thinking and fatigue due to both the injury itself and to the extra cycles my brain had to do keeping my off-kilter balance. The before and after x-rays are pretty striking - the doc did good work.

      • Where I've seen it used in actual serious medical settings, CFS basically is where they lump in people who have chronic fatigue, and...nothing that can be determined as its cause but a lot of things that we know aren't it. In some cases, depression appears to be a symptom and not the actual underlying condition, though if somebody is telling me they've got depression and fatigue I'd be checking to see if their thyroid is at all working. (Some of the issues with how thyroid function is checked mean that it

    • by Muad'Dave ( 255648 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @08:13AM (#50757151) Homepage

      That is - you take a hundred people with CFS, a hundred people without CFS, and you can with certainty tell which group is which.

      Of course you can! Those with Chicken-Fried Steak [foodnetwork.com] will have gravy dripping from their faces.

  • I got a test from Labcorp via one of those shady online doctors. They price was cheaper than my copay if I used my insurance. Apparently the negotiated cash discount is huge.

    • That's the problem that going through one of the shady doctors is still cheaper than going through the insurance or going cash all by yourself.

      BTW, care to share which of the shady doctors did you use? Were the tests priced similar to the prices that this disruptive startup offers?

  • But I'd rather trust 10B of funding than an article on the WSJ that could very well be a public opinion bomb from the highly influent big pharma lobby. My two cents
    • by lucm ( 889690 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @09:50PM (#50755839)

      I'd rather trust 10B of funding than an article on the WSJ

      That's what Enron shareholders used to say.

  • How on earth did it become *so* expensive? This is not a problem in other countries, where pathology is an order of magnitude cheaper than the US. And it is paid for by governments which makes it free to patients in other western countries (certainly here in oz). And no, that does not kill the national budget -- detecting issues early with pathology often saves the government money.

    • American exceptionalism. Exceptionally expensive.

    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      There is a very large bureaucracy involved, and everyone involved in it needs to be paid. Also, paperwork expands to fill the people required to get the supervisor to the next pay grade.

      There may be other reasons. The very *idea* of using insurance companies to manage payments of heath costs implies that most of the money isn't going to medical treatments.

    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      Because the price is set by people who are neither giving, nor receiving the service. Auto insurance in Texas is regulated to where they have capped profits. They charge enough that they over-profit every time, and must refund. Now, if the price of bodywork increases, the insurance companies make more money. So the person "paying" for the service has an incentive to make the price as high as possible.

      Enshrine that in law, and keep it in place for many years, with the insurance company helping guide law
  • I'm not seeing anything suggesting that their service is unreasonably error prone, just a bunch of complaints about how the ratio of medical professionals on their board "doesn't fit" with that of other multinational medical corporations. And even if their testing is not perfect widespread and cheap blood testing could still be of significant use. Even if you come back positive with some serious illness via an expensive test you should be retested to ensure that there wasn't a mix-up, same thing goes with

    • and they're apparently in some cases, using standard off the self testing equipment and simply diluting the sample because they don't collect enough blood.

    • by mhkohne ( 3854 )

      From the Business Insider article:
      "stopped using its signature finger-prick blood test on all but one of its more than 240 blood tests at the request of government regulators who are looking into the company's technology"

      That sounds to me like the FDA doesn't think the right paperwork has been filed, and have told them to lay off till they clear up the proof that it works.

      Note: that does NOT mean that the FDA doesn't think it works. The FDA seldom has a clue themselves unless there are wide-spread complains

    • I'm not seeing anything suggesting that their service is unreasonably error prone

      Jean-Louis Gassee posted his experience with the service. He found that his results for something as simple as a hematocrit varied considerably from one day to the next with Theranos' tests, but stayed consistent when using a traditional lab service. If they can't get something as simple as a hematocrit right, then I have serious doubts about the accuracy of anything they do.

      This matches up with my potential concerns about the service when I first read about it. The volumes of blood they use are so small,

  • by hsmith ( 818216 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @07:35PM (#50755319)
    Silicon Valley and the media want so bad for a successful female "founder" that it hasn't gotten off its knees for this woman.

    "10 years in stealth mode" is hilarious

    Anyone else would have been laughed out of the room with what has come out about Theranos as of late. Claims too good to be true dreamt up by a college kid? Yep, they are probably too good to be true.
  • A simple explanation of how Theranos managed to line-up Walgreens is that Theranos may have offered a large discount over standard lab pricing. But if, in fact, Theranos is running most of their tests on standard (or even slightly-tweaked standard) lab analyzers, how long can Theranos afford to operate at a large discount?

    Unless they really have a big technological advantage over standard labs, which I doubt, then eventually Theranos is just another standard clinical lab operator, presumably operating a
    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      Or, of course if the other labs are gouging like crazy to perform a largely automated battery of tests.

      That seems quite likely to me. After all, this is America, home of medical bills that exceed the GDP of a small country.

  • by Hylandr ( 813770 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @11:18PM (#50756111)

    Personal attacks on company's 'cagey' CEO and corporation in the first two paragraphs.

    This couldn't possibly be a biased post at all.
    So sick of spin and hype...

  • He tried Theranos blood analysis and is not impressed.

    http://www.mondaynote.com/2015... [mondaynote.com]

  • he spends the whole summary being FURIOUS that Quest Diagnostics and your doctor aren't being "disrupted," rather than the fact that ... this "stealth startup" seems to have pulled a billion-dollar scam on investors?

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