The lawyers have come knocking at Theranos’s door.
A lawsuit filed Wednesday on behalf of an Arizona man alleges that the embattled Silicon Valley company deceptively marketed tests it said would deliver accurate medical results from a finger prick of blood.
The complaint, filed in the US District Court for Northern California, is designated as a class action suit. The attorneys who filed the complaint have been in contact with “numerous individuals affected by this,” according to Joseph Sauder, an attorney at the California law firm McCuneWright.
In an email, Theranos spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan called the lawsuit “without merit” and said the company plans to “vigorously defend itself against these claims.”
The filing is just the latest in a relentless parade of bad blows facing the company, including a federal criminal probe and a possible two-year ban for its CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, from the blood-testing business.
And news broke last week that Theranos has voided two years of test results from its signature blood-testing devices.
The problems that prompted that move, according to Wednesday’s lawsuit, could have left patients at risk.
“Tens of thousands of patients may have been given incorrect blood-test results, been subject to unnecessary or potentially harmful treatments, and/or been denied the opportunity to seek treatment for a treatable condition,” the suit says.
The Arizona man at the center of the complaint, identified only as “M.P.B.,” is described in the filing as having purchased a blood test at a Walgreens (WBA) drugstore around December of last year, seeking “accurate results about his health.” It says he would not have purchased the test had he known that Theranos’s signature device didn’t work as the company said it did.
Theranos has several dozen blood-collection locations in pharmacies operated by Walgreens. That deal helped skyrocket Theranos to what was once a $9 billion valuation, more than any other venture-backed company in health care. Walgreens moved ahead with the partnership, which is now in disarray, despite never fully vetting Theranos’s technology, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.