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Third Class Action Filed Against Theranos Goes After Walgreens, Too

The suits are piling up, but a judge still has to agree that lots of people were harmed.

Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes.

 

The lawsuits keep piling up for embattled diagnostics company Theranos. After last week’s back-to-back consumer-fraud class actions alleged that the company’s proprietary blood tests “did not work” and produced inaccurate results, Theranos was slapped with a third class action lawsuit on Monday. Though it’s similar to the first suit—it was filed by the same law firm—this new suit goes one step further by naming Walgreens as a defendant.

The third suit, filed on behalf of a single Arizona resident with the initials R.G., alleges that patients who used Theranos’s proprietary Edison test may have “been subject to unnecessary or potentially harmful treatments, and/or been denied the opportunity to seek treatment for a treatable condition.” It also alleges that Walgreens, which partnered with Theranos to offer tests at pharmacies in Arizona and California, echoed Theranos’s claims about its tests’ performance without verifying them. This new suit follows a report from the Wall Street Journal detailing the extent to which Walgreens officials were in the dark about how, and whether, the Edison tests worked, according to the officials who spoke to the Journal.

"Walgreens’ vetting process seems to have focused on profits over patient care and as a result compromised their customers’ health by attaching its brand to Theranos’ marketing claims,” says attorney Joseph G. Sauder, partner at McCuneWright, the firm that filed the current as well as last week’s first suit.

Theranos and Walgreens haven’t yet responded to emails seeking comment. 

Like the two before it, Monday’s suit has just one plaintiff—the expectation being that disgruntled customers of a similar situation will come forward and join the class. All three suits still need to be certified by a judge, and could potentially be rolled into one. As the Verge has pointed out, certification isn’t a foregone conclusion: A judge will need to decide that there’s evidence that more people have suffered the same damage. And there’s the question of how plaintiffs will show they were harmed.

 

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