Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Theranos: A Summary from Australia

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Science & Society

Ed Hessler

I've previously posted on Elizabeth Holmes who while still a teenager - the oldest she could possibly be and still be included in that category, age 19 -claimed that she had invented a one-drop of blood technology that could accurately and reliably describe the state of a person's health. For some diseases this would lead to prevention of the disease.

She was the founder of Theranos and convinced investors, many of them well known, into making significant investments, ultimately becoming a billionaire. She was a skilled fund raiser. a superb con artist comes to mind.  The claimed technology had never worked and no one apparently never asked for proof of concept.

The failure of the company became a legal case and as you know a trial was held and Holmes was found guilty of criminal fraud. Her sentence was twenty years in prison and a hefty fine for each count. I doubt she will serve other than the minimum time but who knows. And her time will be in an institution for white collar crimes. Plush and easy compared to the hard time most prisoners serve. 

Here is a Fortune story about Theranos by Mahnoor Khan (May 4 2022) that includes background and full details on the major players.

CBS 60 Minutes, Australia  * recently did an excellent report on Elizabeth Holmes and the incident, including extensive interviews with two whistleblowers who amazed me by their resilience. They have paid a price. Tara Brown's reporting left me in admiration for her well-honed skills and talents. The segment is 27m 10s in length.

* h/t: Jerry Coyne, Professor Emeritus, University of Chicago, at the WEIT website was the person who alerted me to its availability although it took me a while to find it since I didn't read the column in which it was reported immediately.

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