Theranos Controversy: Facts you need to know || Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos Scandal

Since French-American reporter John Carreyrou’s shocking report first surfaced in 2015, the Theranos story has dominated headlines and captivated and horrified readers everywhere. We lay out all the information you need to know about the Theranos controversy as business founder Elizabeth Holmes was told to report prison after losing a plea to keep out of jail while she appeals her convictions and eleven year and three month sentence on 27th April 2023. Then she delayed as she appealed early in April to remain on bail while a contest to the original conviction is considered. Finally, Holmes arrived in the Federal Prison Camp in Bryan, Texas, a facility for women with little security, on May 30.

Theranos, a blood-testing firm that promoted a purportedly ground breaking technology, was on the rise in 2014. Theranos claimed to be able to run hundreds of tests (possibly over 240), ranging from cholesterol levels to intricate genetic analysis, with just a single pinprick of blood, whereas prior technology required one vial of blood for each diagnostic test. Theranos appeared to be providing technology that could revolutionise medicine and save lives all across the world because it was automated, quick, and affordable.

Elizabeth Holmes, the firm’s founder and CEO, famously dropped out of Stanford to launch Theranos with the help of her tuition funds. She was just 30 years old at the time the company reached its zenith. The company, which had received over $700 million in investment from notable investors like Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, had emerged as the brightest light in Silicon Valley and was valued at over $9 billion; Homes, who owned more than half of the value, was hailed as the female Steve Jobs.

The sole issue was the technology wasn’t functional

In 2015, the tale was initially reported by Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner. John’s interest was further piqued by Holmes’ alleged capacity to create ground-breaking medical technology after just two semesters of chemical engineering coursework at Stanford after receiving a tip questioning the effectiveness of the Theranos technology.

George Schultz, who served with the Theranos board, started talking to John about their experiences with the company, its technology, and its business practices despite intimidation and threats of legal action. They exposed deceit to board members, a climate of fear and secrecy, equipment that routinely failed quality assurance, and critically, data that were fundamentally inaccurate and used to base life-altering medical judgements that were conveyed to actual patients. It would appear that the business was founded solely on bold lies.

John was able to publish his article in The Wall Street Journal, indicating that Theranos was not utilising its own technology to do the majority of its tests due to inefficiency of its own equipment. This was made possible in large part by the information provided by Theranos whistle blowers. Following FDA examinations, everything stated in John’s report was found to be accurate.

Theranos’ response was remarkable. Holmes initially angrily refuted the accusations made against her and the business. With some Theranos’ employees even screaming filthy words against Carreyrou, John became a perceived enemy of the corporation, and Theranos even threatened to sue him.

 However, Holmes resigned as CEO and was charged with criminal fraud in 2018 along with former company COO Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani for allegedly deceiving investors and making false promises about the effectiveness of the business’s blood testing technology.

Following a FBI investigation, the company was officially shut down three months later, leaving thousands of former employees, many of whom John discovered to be talented individuals with integrity were left uncertain about their future.

After being found guilty on four counts of scamming investors in January 2022, Holmes received a sentence of eleven year and three month in prison in November. More details about Theranos’ death were made public during the trial, and the prosecution accused Holmes of destroying evidence during Theranos’ final days of operation. While testifying in her own defence, Holmes acknowledged that Theranos made mistakes, but she insisted that she never intentionally deceived clients or investors. Holmes is trying to appeal her convictions and sentence. It appears that the plot is still unfolding because there have been so many turns so far.

In his critically acclaimed book, “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Start-up”, John goes further in-depth on the facts behind the Theranos crisis and the inquiry process. The media’s interest with the business and its creator continues in the meantime, as evidenced by pieces that question the veracity of Holmes’ well-known baritone voice and the podcast “The Dropout”, which is devoted to the rise and fall of the Theranos Empire.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why couldn’t Theranos work?

There was a serious technical issue in the testing device and the CEO Elizabeth Holmes tried to hide the sore with false promises and skilled presentation.

Did Theranos machine ever work?

The Edison machine of Theranos could perform very few tests instead of as promised to do nearly 200 tests with an ounce of blood. Its accuracy was always under question mark.

What is the documentary film on Elizabeth Holmes?

“The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley”, the film is about Elizabeth Holmes and her company Theranos.

Which show is about Elizabeth Holmes  on Netflix?

“The Dropout” is a biographical drama miniseries that stars Amanda Seyfried as Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the scandal-plagued biotechnology company Theranos.

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Plaban Nayak

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