When the federal government reversed course last month, deciding not to regulate many genetic tests, one big winner was Proove Biosciences, a Southern California company that markets an unproven “opioid risk” test.

Proove claims its test can predict, with 93 percent accuracy, which patients will become addicted to or misuse prescribed opioid pain pills. That’s been an irresistible sales pitch for many physicians, who struggle to treat pain patients compassionately but fear adding to the national epidemic of opioid addiction. The Irvine, Calif., company has recruited 400 doctors, who have used the test to guide their treatment of more than 100,000 patients in the last five years.

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  • Brian Meshkin does not have the ethical and moral foundation to run a healthcare company. Unlike other fields, healthcare is highly structured and procedural. Everything follows a standard process to ensure the safety and security of the patient. This means there is little or no room for creativity. Brian Meshkin is by nature a con man and a thief who will do anything including bending the rules to make money. Such a psychopathic personality inevitably puts him on a collision course with the authorities.

    It is shameful the system didn’t stop a giant scam like Proove much early and an article like this took so long to shine the light at Proove. The points raised in this and the other STAT article are only about a tenth of the wrongdoing at Proove. The place was terribly dysfunctional.

    To describe Mr Meshkin as an incompetent CEO will not do justice to the level of incompetence at this company. He made poor decisions in hiring, promotions and in management. Serious ethical violations were so commonplace that one wonders if the products were for dogs and not human beings. Infighting, backstabbing and lack of communication between teams put the company almost in a perpetual state of near anarchy.

    Mr Meshkin’s greed was on the verge of kleptomania that it was easy to see through his charlatanry and hypocrisy. I hope the Feds put him where he belongs: Prison

  • Patients are reportedly being coerced into accepting the tests by their doctors who state, “You won’t be billed.” That is technically true, but Proove is billing insurance companies for these sham tests. There is no known “sponsor.” Fortunately, insurance companies are defending against the bills. Proove paid doctors to “promote” the tests, the doctors who prescribed these tests were financially motivated and in violation of anti-kickback statutes. The Orange County DA – Insurance Fraud Division is on a mission with indictments to shut these kickback schemes down.

  • (Continuation) …failing to pay them. This will surely be corrected by the end of each and every future month. So just keep sending in patients and you will eventually be paid well. This of course leads to doubt and after consulting several collegues in the area. I learned they had the same problem 6 months ago with this “study”. None of them was paid and one had some remuneration after retaining an attorney. Of greater concern is the research itself had webinar training in which it was my understanding that once the lab report was back, we were to conduct interviews with our patient’s on the significance of the study and how it might help them now as well as in the future to manage their medications. This time was to be allotted as reason for the physician associate researcher remuneration. Subsequently the PROOVE paid reaseach assistant who had conducted the original data collection and obtained the cheek swab for the DNA specimen would instead conduct the exit interviews and I would merely need to sign off on them. As the excuses for non-payment rolled in, I became a little more skeptical and began to actually read the exit interviews. Most of the data appeared to largely come from charts which under HIPAA agreement the research assistant had access to. These accurately reported that the results of the lab test rarely changed what was being immediately done for the patient and were largely more effective in suggesting future medications to avoid. The last several questions dealt with my opinion of the effectiveness of the study and to my surprise, I always ranked them as 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 5. Being amazed that this was peer-review quality research, I asked for copy of the protocol, which came to me with incredibly fast professional speed that very day via e-mail. It does indeed show that the research assistant not the associate MD research gathers all the data for the exit interviews and does not mention any interview of the physician associate researcher. I am not sure how the validity of this information will fly withe peer reviewed journals or with the Medicare and private insurer sponsors.

  • I have been an associate researcher in my private family practice with PROOVE for about 4 months. The study I participate in is primarily for determining risk of drug side effects or interactions. We were promised the moon on how effective this was and useful in helping patient to avoid drugs with a high risk of interactions and side effects unique to their individual genetics. We could also be included in the above mentioned opioids study if interested. All this would be provided at no cost to the patient directly, but only to the Medicare Administration and private insurers who were “sponsoring the study”. None of my patient’s has yet received a bill, so that part appears true. Unfortunately we were recruited with understanding that we would be reimbursed for referrals to the program which seem not to have materialized. Instead we get a weekly mass e-mail, thanking us for our patience and blaming failure of this or that insurer

  • Just one more way for the medical establishment to rake in the almighty dollar with little care of the consequences for the person it affects. Why should they care that someone may be incorrectly identified as high risk of opiate addiction leading to potential denial of pain management in the future? If only the population realized how inaccurate so many “laboratory” test are. Just another avenue to drain our pockets with hit and miss results. Stay away from doctors. Stay away from testing. Stay away from treatment. There is no such thing and never will be as long as medicine is controlled by these corporations that could care less about any true benefit to the patient as long as it generates $$$!!!

  • Interesting expose, raising many valid questions, but it appears that the “experts” may have as little data as the “promoters” and truth usually lies in between. Data on genetic risk from other original sources for an analytically accurate rendition of those markers is actually valid, but does need further verification. Somehow, the real issues for practicing physicians are always under appreciated by academic experts, and the value of any tool that might help discriminate risk better than an H&P should be considered. The key is the claims as to performance of such a predictor, not its mere promotion.

  • The next big market for the crooks. Aren’t vitamins and body enhancers enough? This is very scary, especially with the change in government.

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