A Health Reporter Has a Tale of a Mystery Fire Alarm During a Theranos-related Reporting Trip

About a year before the Wall Street Journal started a firestorm for then-biotech darling Theranos, one reporter had an experience with the company—which has a Dallas tie through real estate developer Craig Hall, who is an investor—that might’ve warned of the troubles ahead. Kaiser Health News‘ Jenny Gold has a piece out this week about her run in with the company in late 2014, while reporting a story for NPR. After meeting Theranos’ press representatives at Theranos-partner Walgreens, the reps became nervous about the type of questions Gold was asking patients. Gold was curious as to why they all seemed to be getting their blood drawn in the normal way, through a vein—not the innovative and much-discussed finger prick. Then:

 

Soon, one of the Theranos representatives approached me again, clearly nervous. They were getting worried. Unless I found a patient getting a finger prick, he said, they would likely have to cancel my interview with Holmes.

I asked them to get the woman who had set up the interviews on the phone again.

Meanwhile, I sat down with another couple, who had driven 45 minutes to experience the vaunted finger prick. Would they too be steered to a traditional blood test?

All of a sudden, as I was interviewing them, a sudden and jolting BEEP BEEP BEEP reverberated through the drugstore. “Fire alarm!” someone called out, and we all evacuated to the street.

There was no smoke and no fire.

Read Gold’s full piece here.

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