Theranos sold Walgreens on their bogus blood test technology by claiming Pfizer had validated it. A Pfizer analyst says Holmes just did a ‘Right Click, Save As’ with the Pfizer logo.
We haven’t checked in on the Elizabeth Holmes trial since jury selection started in August, but the criminal trial over Theranos’ fraudulent blood test claims has been humming along in a San Jose federal courtroom. The biggest news is that it’s been bleeding jurors, as today a third juror was dismissed for undisclosed reasons. If they lose two more jurors, there is then a possibility that the whole thing will be declared a mistrial. That would be great for Elizabeth Holmes!
But things are not going her way in terms of testimony, as the Mercury News describes damning testimony for a former Pfizer scientist saying that Pfizer had rejected the Theranos technology as ineffective, but Holmes just swiped their logo to claim in investor materials that Pfizer has actually validated it.
A third juror was dismissed from the Elizabeth Holmes’s trial Friday, with the proceedings only just reaching their expected midpoint https://t.co/hH1mq1XeME— Bloomberg (@business) October 22, 2021
The tale involves an unholy alliance of the brands Theranos, Pfizer, Walgreens, and the U.S. military. The short version is that Theranos asked Pfizer to validate its technology, which Pfizer found to be useless snake oil. Undaunted, Theranos allegedly claimed the exact opposite, and slapped the Pfizer logo on to their marketing materials to claim the seal of approval. They then used these false materials to sell Walgreens on stocking the blood-test kits, also with the false claim that the U.S. military was already using the kits in Afghanistan.
We get a side by side of the report, one with Theranos logo on it and one with the Theranos and Pfizer logos on it.— erin griffith (@eringriffith) October 22, 2021
Would it be fair to say in 2010 or after that Pfizer endorsed Theranos’s technology or comprehensively validated Theranos’s technology?
Former Pfizer scientist Shane Weber took the stand Friday morning, and jurors were presented with his 2010 analysis that “Theranos unconvincingly argues the case for having accomplished tasks of interest to Pfizer,” and that when he pressed Holmes on the product’s technical flaws, she “provided oblique, deflective or evasive non-informative answers.”
He declined to endorse the product, and emailed his superiors that Holmes “asked for other names at Pfizer to approach and I politely deflected.” In testimony Friday, Weber added he “did not want multiple other points of the company being contacted and being distracted from their clinical trial duties.”
Pfizer’s internal report about Theranos and its technology was so harsh that lawyers for Elizabeth Holmes say it would be unfair for jurors in her criminal fraud trial to hear about it https://t.co/sOEdh45nb1— Bloomberg (@business) October 20, 2021
Yet Holmes sent Walgreens an email with the title “Pfizer Theranos System Validation Final Report,” containing marketing materials with Pfizer’s logo, describing non-existent validation reports claiming Pfizer was wowed by the “superior performance” and “excellent” accuracy of Theranos’ products.
Walgreens fell for it, took a significant black eye when the criminal investigations and federal probes started, and sued Theranos in 2016 over the whole bloody mess.
In Silicon Valley, the Elizabeth Holmes trial has launched a debate: Since the former CEO of Theranos was following a playbook used by dozens of tech CEOs, why is she the only one to face prosecution when a company collapses in scandal? https://t.co/Wj0REtunEw— NPR (@NPR) September 25, ined 2021
Holmes is being made the poster child of this scheme, in no small part because of the easily caricatured voice, wardrobe, and act. Not much is said of her clearly ineffective board members Henry Kissinger, Jim Mattis, the late George Shultz, and bamboozled venture capitalists like Rupert Murdoch and Larry Ellison, whose job is to know better.
“It has been astonishing to see witness after witness for the prosecution claim they were misled regarding the data and performance of the technology,” biotech consultant Chirag Asaravala wrote in a Chronicle op-ed this week. “Each and every investor and partner had ample opportunity to perform their due diligence, prior to and at any point along their investment — yet it appears they willfully ignored this responsibility."
Related: Elizabeth Holmes Tried Six Ways to Get Out of Going to Trial, and a Judge Denied All Six [SFist]
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 17: Former Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes goes through security after arriving for court at the Robert F. Peckham Federal Building September 17, 2021 in San Jose, California. Holmes is facing charges of conspiracy and wire fraud for allegedly engaging in a multimillion-dollar scheme to defraud investors with the Theranos blood testing lab services. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)