Theranos continued playing defense this morning with a much more in-depth post on what the company claims the news organization got wrong in two damning articles published last week.
One WSJ article alleged Theranos was outsourcing most of its technology to test blood samples on its 240 blood tests and that the company was in fact only using its proprietary ‘Edison’ machine for one test – a claim later confirmed by Theranos. The blood work company put out a statement saying it was only using its proprietary machine to test for the HSV-1 herpes simplex virus at the moment as part of an effort to cooperate with Food and Drug Administration protocols.
The Journal also called into question the accuracy of Theranos’ test results, citing doctors, nurses, employees inside the company and others who were concerned with differing outcomes from tests produced through Theranos wellness enters.
Holmes appeared onstage at the Wall Street Journal Live conference in Laguna Beach, California, this week to face her accusers and reiterate what she said the WSJ articles took out of context.
Theranos’ latest statement addresses several questions from the media regarding testing reliability and the current use of its finger stick test technology and states it has “tens of thousands” of satisfied customers and has run “more than 3.5 million tests.”
Theranos then goes into a lengthy point-by-point response to the Journal’s allegations.
“The stories suggest that Theranos’ tests are not accurate. That is wrong: Theranos’ tests are accurate and reliable. Here are the facts,” reads the statement, which then launches into claims about accuracy, its use of the technology, and states that the Journal declined a demonstration offer from Theranos during the course of the news organization’s investigation.
“On October 8, Theranos offered to bring one of our devices to The Journal for demonstration purposes, to show the capabilities of Theranos’ technology so they could compare our results to any other lab of their choosing. We made this offer with no strings attached. The Journal declined,” Theranos said.
Theranos also accuses the Journal of making up statements in its report, including one about changes to its website shortly before the articles came out.
“What about the changes to Theranos’ website?” reads the statement. “First of all, Heather King is misquoted as saying that the changes to Theranos’ website were made for ‘marketing accuracy.’ Ms. King said no such thing. Instead, we explained to the reporter that the changes to the website were simply done to emphasize that, regardless of whether Theranos takes a venous sample or a finger-stick draw, our blood draws are smaller and less painful, improving the overall patient experience. Theranos updates our website regularly. As explained to the reporter, this update was not done at the request, complaint, or recommendation of FDA.”
The statement also claims Journal reporter John Carreyrou misrepresented anecdotal accounts from several sources to the story.
“The reporter questioned the accuracy of Theranos’ tests based on anecdotal accounts from a handful of providers. But during the reporting process, Theranos exposed the reporter for misrepresenting stories from four of the seven providers that he gave us. The other three refused to engage with us—and those are the only stories that the reporter decided to print,” read the Theranos statement.
The WSJ has responded to Theranos’ counter-allegations over the course of this public battle. A statement from the Journal thanked Holmes for appearing onstage at the WSJD Live conference yesterday, but reiterated it stands by its account.
“We note that Ms. Holmes sought to challenge the reliability of our sources, but it remains the fact that she doesn’t know from whom the information for our articles was gathered. We assure her and our readers that our sources were well positioned to know the information they provided about Theranos, and they were vetted before publication,” reads the Journal’s statement on Dow Jones. “The Journal reiterates that our articles about Theranos were thoroughly reported, fair and wholly accurate.”
The WSJ has since updated its statement to reflect today’s remarks from Theranos. It still stands by its account.
“Theranos subsequently posted a lengthy rebuttal to the articles the Journal published last week. We carefully reviewed the company’s claims; nothing in Theranos’s report undermines the accuracy of the articles. Our journalism was free of any preconceived notions and was conducted in an entirely appropriate fashion,” the Journal said.