The Billion Dollar Lab Scandal

If you think Theranos is a big story then I have some news for you. There’s another medical laboratory scandal  that dwarfs the Theranos story by almost any standard except for hype.

The Theranos story is an important sexy Silicon Valley story. It’s more about an imagined  shimmering future than about the greasy present we actually live in now.

By contrast, the rise and fall of Health Diagnostic Laboratory (HDL) is a story that speaks to the almost unimaginable degree of waste, corruption, and institutional inertia at the heart of our healthcare system. For almost two years now I’ve been covering this story. Now you can read an overview of the first part of this tale on MedPage Today. (The story will continue later this summer.)

When I first started reporting on the HDL story something unusual happened. I began to hear from a wide variety of readers, including patients, doctors, HDL employees, and other laboratory professionals about their personal experiences with HDL. All expressed outrage and frustration at the absence of attention paid to an egregious story that was not being adequately addressed by government or medical authorities. My subsequent reports have been informed and driven by tips, information, and stories I received from these sources.

The HDL story was first reported in the Wall Street Journal by John Carreyrou and Tom McGinty. Carreyrou, of course, went on to gain well deserved universal acclaim for his amazing coverage of Theranos, which began shortly afterwards. I would submit that the HDL lab story and its fallout, though far less sexy, uncovers an astonishingly important fundamental problem in the US healthcare system. The first step to solving this problem is recognizing that it exists.

MedPage Today: The Billion Dollar Lab Scandal, Part one: the rise and fall of Health Diagnostics Laboratory


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