Elizabeth Holmes Says Theranos Customers Liked Cheap Blood Tests
(Bloomberg) -- For all that the jury in the Elizabeth Holmes trial has heard about the startup’s blood tests being unreliable, the Theranos Inc. founder says customers liked her product because it was cheap.
At Holmes’s criminal trial this week, a former Theranos lab director called as a government witness said he voided upwards of 50,000 test results in response to federal regulators finding the company’s devices woefully deficient.
Holmes says prosecutors are only telling part of the story. She wants the jury to see customer feedback reports that “contain numerous comments praising Theranos’ pricing model -- both in its transparency and in the cost of services,” according to a court filing Friday.
The company’s former chief executive officer is fighting charges that she lied to both investors and patients about the capabilities of the machines that she promised would revolutionize health care. Prosecutors have presented evidence that Holmes was touting the Theranos rollout in Walgreens drug stores as a success story even as the partnership was faltering over her failed technology.
U.S. District Judge Edward Davila previously ruled the feedback from hundreds of customers in 2014 and 2015 was irrelevant, but Holmes’s lawyers are now asking him to reconsider. They say the reports show that contrary to the notion that Holmes was out to defraud people, the “generally favorable accounts” from both first-time and repeat customers gave her reason to believe that the partnership with Walgreens would expand.
The very fact that some customers returned for more tests “is evidence of Ms. Holmes’ belief that Theranos was providing accurate and reliable test results,” according to the filing. “All of this supports a good-faith belief that the Walgreens relationship was healthy and would grow in the future.”
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