Walgreens Boots Alliance has placed a temporary hold on expanding Theranos blood-testing centers after an all-day meeting at the startup company's headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., the Wall Street Journal reported late Friday.
In a series of recent articles, the Journal alleged that Theranos, whose founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes developed a proprietary blood-testing technology that requires minimal blood draws, used standard blood draws and another company's equipment for most of its blood tests.
The newspaper reported that Walgreens officials who attended Thursday's meeting were unaware that the Food and Drug Administration had conducted surprise inspections of Theranos facilities in August and September until the paper reported it. Holmes told a conference last week that Theranos, whose proprietary technology doesn't require FDA approval under the Clinical Laboratory Improvements Act because it does its testing in-house, is now seeking agency approval for its test.
"We have to move, as a company, from the lab framework and quality systems to the FDA framework and quality systems,” Holmes told a Wall Street Journal-sponsored conference in Laguna Beach, Calif., last week.
Walgreens has established “wellness centers” in 41 stories in Arizona and California that offer the Theranos technology and has has taken an equity stake in Theranos. The Deerfield, Ill.-based company operates 8,240 drugstores in the U.S.
Theranos has called the original Journal articles false and misleading.