15 de juliol 2018

Fake lab tests

Bad blood

We all know that we live in a post-truth society. But this may have strong effect in your health. The case of Theranos, a US lab is explained in an excellent book by John Carreryrou is a precise example. You create an expectation that with a blood drop all tests can be done, you develop the narrative, the social and entrepreneurial support, and...while the regulator is on vacation (as usual) you perform fake test that can endanger your health. Imagine that your coefficient of variation is 34-48%, while it should be less than 10%!. The results may hurt you directly.
The book provides a lot of details:
As for the lab itself, it was a mess: the company had allowed unqualified personnel to handle patient samples, it had stored blood at the wrong temperatures, it had let reagents expire, and it had failed to inform patients of flawed test results, among many other lapses
And strong messages for start-up investors:
By positioning Theranos as a tech company in the heart of the Valley, Holmes channeled this fake-it-until-you-make-it culture, and she went to extreme lengths to hide the fakery. Many companies in Silicon Valley make their employees sign nondisclosure agreements, but at Theranos the obsession with secrecy reached a whole different level.
FT recommends this book for this summer, and I agree that it will help you to understand and avoid similar fake business that we can detect around us. It should never happen again.