Blood testing company sending settlement checks
288 residents in tri-cities getting $83.82 average from Theranos
CHECK ON THE WAY
City No. refunds Avg. amt.
Black Canyon City 46 $69.90
Chino Valley 32 $73.48
Cottonwood 52 $97.02
Prescott 160 $76.15
Prescott Valley 96 $100.04
— Source: Att. General’s Office
PHOENIX — Checks are going out today to 76,000 Arizonans who had blood tests done by Theranos laboratories, tests that may not have been accurate.
Today’s mailings are the last step in ending a consumer fraud lawsuit filed against the company last year by the Attorney General’s Office. In total, consumers will get more than $4.6 million. There are 288 consumers in the tri-cities who should be expecting checks totaling a little more than $24,000. The average for all three is $83.82.
The average refund is just shy of $61, though one person in Mesa is getting a check for more than $3,400.
In agreeing to make the payments, attorneys for Theranos denied that they violated the state’s Consumer Fraud Act in selling blood tests where the results were not always accurate. But they conceded in an agreement to settle the lawsuit that more than one out of every 10 test results given to Arizonans were “ultimately voided or corrected.’’
For purposes of the refunds, though, it does not matter which consumers got accurate tests and which did not: It is structured so that anyone who got a blood test as far back as 2013 gets his or her money back.
Theranos isn’t doing any more tests.
The deal bars the company from owning, operating or directing any laboratory in Arizona for two years.
That’s in addition to a separate agreement with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to stay out of the blood-testing business for at least two years. And federal health regulators last year specifically banned company founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes from owning or operating any test facility for two years.
Theranos entered the testing business with claims of having a method of testing that required only a small amount of blood.
What also helped their business in Arizona was a 2015 state law making it easier for Theranos to market its services directly to Arizona consumers. The measure, which Gov. Doug Ducey signed at a ceremony in Scottsdale with Holmes, removed all the limits on the kinds of blood, urine and other tests that patients could order on their own, without first getting a doctor’s order.
The refunds actually cover the period even before the 2015 change in the law, meaning even those whose tests were ordered by doctors can get their money back.
Earlier this year Theranos settled a separate $140 million lawsuit filed against it by Walgreens which had partnered with the firm to offer in-store finger-prick blood tests at 40 locations. The amount of the settlement was not disclosed.