As someone who has to surrender several rather large vials of his blood every six months for a variety of tests, I can assure you that it is a royal pain in the ass. Or in the arm, since that’s the part that’s being repeatedly punctured every time I go to the clinic. So it’s understandable that a lot of people wanted to believe that Theranos had invented some kind of magical machine (called Edison) that could do the job with just a couple of drops of blood and do it in just a few minutes.
Alarm bells should have went off all over when this company appeared out of nowhere with it’s claims. And in some circles they did go off. This would require an incredible breakthrough not only in medical science but in technology as well, and which seemed far too good to be true.
But that didn’t prevent the media, even the media that should have known better, from heaping praise upon the company and it’s founder, Holmes. Nor did it prevent some health care corporations, who also should have known better, from buying into the deal and using Theranos as their testing service.
Then little things started to show up. Like the fact that Theranos itself wasn’t even using it’s own machine, Edison, for most of the testing, and was using standard testing technologies that required large blood samples. Or how the fact that the results from the Edison machine seemed to be off just a wee bit. Well, okay more than a wee bit, really. Some estimates I’ve seen claim the results coming from this ‘revolutionary new testing procedure’ were wrong 50% – 80% of the time. So wrong that Theranos itself has had to invalidate all of the test results done by the machine over the last two years.
Other little nasties turned up. Like untrained, unqualified people doing the testing, according to Medicare’s auditors.
The company has gone from being worth over $5 billion dollars to literally nothing almost overnight, now.
There is no shortage of individuals and companies selling ‘health’ products that are utterly worthless, even down right dangerous. Things like supplements, naturopaths, the utterly insane people who are trying to tell parents that giving their autistic kids enemas of what essentially is industrial strength bleach… The list goes on and on. Theranos is just the latest and most high profile.