Elizabeth Holmes exposed: the $9 billion medical ‘miracle’ that never existed
Elizabeth Holmes exposed At the age of 19, Elizabeth Holmes promised the world a medical revolution, claiming to have invented a miniaturized the machine that could map our health with a single drop of blood. She boasted that serious diseases like cancer would be prevented before they occurred, and it was not just a wow moment for patients; high-profile investors poured a fortune into the project
Into Elizabeth holmes’ business Theranos their money was insured she became silicon valley’s first self-made female billionaire but her product was an invention it didn’t work Elizabeth holmes is no visionary she’s a scammer who’s endangered people’s lives and if convicted faces 20 years
The most important promise of all was that Holmes could save lives via a breakthrough blood testing gadget she had developed and would make accessible to everyone through supermarkets and pharmacies.
I’d want to embrace Theranos, which implies being able to recognize the beginning of illness in time to do anything about it. Elizabeth Holmes exposed
The amazing real treat
Elizabeth Holmes exposed
The idea was purchased by some of the world’s wealthiest individuals in California’s Silicon Valley. There are persons in our world who change our lives.
Mark my words, Coco Chanel, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Walt Disney, and Elizabeth Holmes, for building Theranos into a stunning $9 billion behemoth and making Homes the tech valley’s first self-made female billionaire.
Billionaire, you started this business 12 years ago, right? Tell them your age, I was 19 at the time.
Celebrity pundits and wealthy investors couldn’t get enough of the new kid on the block in Silicon Valley. She was the new darling, and a lot of that was because she was a woman entrepreneur, which is a very attractive thing in a society that has long been dominated by males.
She wore black turtlenecks like Steve Jobs and sold her little tail for a while. The revolution promised by Elizabeth Holmes was to put preventative health care at our fingertips quite literally all it would take would be one tiny drop of blood from a finger prick from which to run hundreds of blood tests using a groundbreaking miniaturized testing device.
Provide more dependable, quicker, and less expensive outcomes.
People don’t enjoy having huge needles put into their arms, and you’re one of them, therefore Elizabeth’s machine would eliminate the conventional method of doing things, such as greater quantities of blood taken from the arm with giant needles and expensive and time-consuming lab analysis.
The goal was to make it possible for everyone to
Get blood tests as frequently as once a month to build a personal health profile and to catch diseases like cancer at their earliest stages. Many people are unaware that they have a basic human right to access information about themselves and their bodies that can change their lives, but as whistleblowers would expose, the Elizabeth Holmes revolution turned out to be a failure.
To be an extraordinary fraud a lie that put lives in jeopardy were you ever asked to falsify data or destroy data oh just get rid of these tests that you’ve run wiped out nearly a billion dollars of investors money there was no money to be had it all just evaporated any comment at all to the investors and may well end up behind bars for up to 20 years come her fraud trial later this month
Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? I do. How would you describe the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes? I think it’s a commentary on silicon valley’s culture. There’s so much hype, so much exaggerating in this culture that you know young entrepreneurs are bred to behave this way, and as investigative journalist john carraroo foresaw.
People in the room were willing to drink the kool-aid all hoping to crack the unicorn club the billion-dollar startups emerging in silicon valley at the time this was the unicorn boom and it was 2015 and things were getting frothy in silicon valley and uh people didn’t want to miss the next Facebook and a lot of people wanted to get on board this next rocket to uh riches when she first I
I was a little starstruck science graduate erica Chung was not out to get rich she just wanted a job and Theranos with Ernest Elizabeth Holmes exposed at the helm was the dream pick I was really excited as sort of a young scientist to work for a company that seemed to have a compelling vision and a strong leader who seemed to back it up as well
But erica was shocked to discover that the theranos dream was a fairy tale peddled by Elizabeth Holmes exposed and chief operating officer ramesh sunny balwani elizabeth’s boyfriend at the time for all the excitement the little black box simply did not work it could not do what the pair claimed the reality of working at theranos was that a lot of what was being said about the company were not actually true
Was anything going on behind closed doors?
This new revolutionary device didn’t exist; it hadn’t even been built yet. Worse, they were using a jerry-rigged version of the machine to run patients’ blood tests; the results were frequently false or misleading, but this, too, was hidden from an unsuspecting public. I just wanted people to know that they were there.
Were using this defective equipment to test on patients, which needed to be halted. Rumors of theranos’ unethical practices were spreading, but it would be writer john kariu from the wall street journal who would be the first to start investigating following a tip-off from a suspicious pathologist.
Business fraud and corporate fraud, but potentially a fraud with serious public health implications, and so I thought well this is a big story for all the hope and hype Elizabeth Holmes exposed was now accused of being a fake but as it would become clear the consequences of her fraud were real and dangerous this is inexcusable now and forever the remarkable story of healthcare startup company thera
In 2003, Elizabeth Holmes begins her studies at Stanford University.
This used to be my advisor’s office; we entered [Music] at the age of 19 and after just two semesters of studying chemical engineering, Holmes pulled out to become a medical technology entrepreneur; another few courses in chemical engineering were not an option.
Necessary for what I wanted to do one of the first people to hear her future business plans was stanford university professor of medicine dr phyllis gardner, who was not impressed. did Elizabeth Holmes exposed always have big dreams in your opinion absolutely her ambition was over the top and unfortunately the person who twice introduced her to me said she’s just a girl
She was bright, and when you’re surrounded by Nobel laureates, you take it with a grain of salt, a boulder of salt. She had no understanding of medicine and just a basic knowledge of engineering, and she was 19 years old.
and she didn’t want any expertise she felt she knew everything well you don’t at 19 i’m sorry but Elizabeth Holmes exposed understood the power of public relations from the beginning
I believe that the individual is the answer to the challenges of health care. Instead of proving her so-called groundbreaking blood testing device could do everything she promised through peer reviews or releasing extensive data, she gathered a war council to her board, reveling in their fame and power.
Credibility is ensured by the presence of three former US cabinet secretaries, two former US senators, a retired navy admiral, and a retired marine corps general, among others, including George Schultz and Henry Kissinger.
How did you pull it off?
The board consisted of george schultz, jim mattis, henry kissinger, and a slew of four-star generals, and someone remarked, “This is like a board that’s going to take over the world,” but what does it have to do with anything?
Nothing and thus everyone was duped silicon valley really had egg on its face over this thing but initially, like many small-time investors, eileen lepro was impressed after she was advised to sink a hard-earned $100,000 into was there something about the nature of what elizabeth holmes Elizabeth Holmes exposed was hoping to do
Promises to do so drew you to this kind of investment; was there something altruistic about it? Not for me; I was trying to make money, but I worked for a venture capitalist at the time, and he claimed it would be comparable to Apple, and to acquire as many shares as I could, regardless of proof.
Almost a billion bucks all at once
As the owner of the Wall Street Journal, Rupert Murdoch was the single largest investor, purchasing 125 million dollars worth of shares. He was also the employer of investigative journalist John Kararu at the moment kararu revealed Holmes’s spin as being not accessible, and he was largely correct.
They should have done more due diligence, and I believe it was a deliberate choice on Elizabeth’s part to focus on what I would call uncharitably the dumb money, the uh billionaires and their family offices, rather than the uh sophisticated silicon valley venture funds, who I don’t believe would have fallen for the same lies.
What do you think of the investors that have queued up to invest?
To give her nearly a billion dollars older white men right i’m telling you i’ve said it brains go south they weren’t thinking with their brains it’s what you’re saying uh-huh [Laughter] I don’t know and they believed her and she could be charming she could be i’m sure it just didn’t charm me but she could be charming to others
Giving people the right to obtain a laboratory test will, by definition, start the process of enabling them to participate in their health. It’s homes you’re magnificent with elizabeth’s charm offensive in full flight results back in the lab were going from bad to worse according to former lab associate erica chung
We were producing really wildly inaccurate and imprecise results on a consistent basis across many different types of blood tests, you know tests like hepatitis c or your thyroid test or test that would be predictive of cancer, and it’s telling us very clearly that we need to stop testing patients, and everyone should be able to get that type of test, but
Elizabeth was not paying attention because she was waiting for her technology to catch up with her eyesight.
Your health is very important to us as a child of all those taken in by theranosmania it would be patients who had the most to lose because nothing is more important than the health of those you love it was just a big fraud and if you can perpetrate a fraud smile about it go to white house dinners that to me is just no conscience
This idea that she was faking it till she could make it, do you think she ever believed in what she could accomplish? I mean, it’s almost like in another dream world an egoism that I can’t explain I don’t have that I doubt you have that fake it until you make it pardon me on that.
I don’t think so, what’s your take on that they’re happy to go live with a system that’s still being tested and is actually failing yeah it’s unconscionable it’s unethical it’s immoral as you know all the words you can think of to describe that and in australia why the Elizabeth Holmes exposed miniature black box was never going to work she couldn’t do what she could
She claimed she could do it founder and ceo of startup company theranos Elizabeth Holmes exposed was promising to make the impossible possible in the name of preventative medicine the problem is that she tried to essentially take an entire pathology lab and squish it into a little black box and promised to be able to do all those tests all the time for people and it takes years and years to develop a pathology lab
Every single one of those tests was up to the standard where it could be accurate, so ambitious doesn’t quite capture it, but it was incredibly ambitious medical scientist dr darren saunders from sydney university has closely followed the rise of Elizabeth Holmes exposed and her promise that this mini lab could run hundreds of blood tests on just one drop of blood his expertise in the field made him believe
Incredulous right from the start, over the last 11 years we’ve reinvented the traditional laboratory infrastructure it’s quite a strange thing to watch happen because you feel like shouting the emperor’s not wearing any clothes right and as a scientist it was incredibly frustrating because you felt like taking these people aside and saying look there’s nothing g
Are you spending so much money on something with no proof that it exists? That was the phrase I always used it was exactly that the emperor has no clothes and that is the perfect metaphor for what it was like all over the world dr phyllis gardner was equally disturbed as a professor at stanford university she knew Elizabeth Holmes exposed as a student
Up until that point, the way they had to draw before she famously dropped out and acquired the steve jobs attire i’m so dehumanizing that um it’s an incredibly emotional process so and before her voice changed well it’s wonderful to be here I started this company because what about the deep voice did you have the deep voice when you were dealing with Steve Jobs?
With no, I was taken aback when I heard a voice since I had no idea who it was before, and it is a voice you don’t forget in a lady.
[Music] oh [Music]
Hello, yeah, the rate to preserve one’s health.
And businesses were queuing up to support Elizabeth Holmes, whether well designed or not.
Her triumph was cemented in 2013 when theranos was introduced in drugstore chain walgreens in a multi-million dollar agreement. We have an operational strategy that will enable us to reach within five miles of every person’s house via the walgreens that we’ve built and are continuing to build nationwide.
The promise was that customers could get an in-store blood test with a simple finger prick for next to nothing and get their results back within four hours. The truth, according to former theranos lab associate erica chong, was that this thing that was supposed to be five would all of a sudden be five.
The degree of inner correctness was simply far too high to start running on patients thus I had my thera nose test done on like the 29th of july and then 31st of july I got a test done by another lab and it was different ignorant of the outrageously inaccurate findings pallav schader himself a
A physician-turned-medical-technology entrepreneur went to Walgreens for a theranos blood test; the findings were shockingly negative for this health-conscious doctor, revealing that he was pre-diabetic.
Fortunately, Pallav’s own doctor was skeptical of the diagnosis and requested another blood test from a different facility; this was the point at which I felt tricked since
There was some embarrassment since Thought work in the business. If you hadn’t gotten a second opinion and a second test, what course of action would you have done at age 35? I would have been put on anti-diabetic medicine, and no drug is without side effects, so I I
I get emotional thinking about how important it was for me that if you followed the Theronos model, you would have been on medication for a disease you don’t have yes absolutely this is inexcusable now and forever was it a fact that there were illnesses that might not have been picked up that were fatal?
People who may have been suffering from life-threatening illnesses but were unaware of it due to a false result
Yeah, the gadgets were so unstable that you couldn’t put them through any tests.
Theranos’ breakthrough technology was a ruse; instead, Theranos covertly used commercially accessible blood analyzers.
Because those machines require larger amounts of blood to run their tests, staff were ordered to dilute the small blood samples collected by finger prick, making those results unsafe. They were doing the tests on standard equipment and diluting the blood, invalidating a lot of the results, so I knew there was fraud going on and I suspected it from the beginning.
But the marketing myth persisted, and when you make a decision to do something, you do it, and that’s it. A previously non-existent lab was created, filled with as many black boxes as the company could find, and vice president joe biden was invited to inspect this is sort of the laboratory of the future, unaware that the devices didn’t work and that he, along with the rest of the world, was being duped into learning that.
To demonstrate joe biden, I mean what an audacious act of deceit she committed, I would give you that, and everything she did, I do believe there is some sociopathy there, and the capacity to lie and not care is not natural.
From my perspective as a medical doctor, she was trying to overpromise and then hope that her engineers and biochemists would catch up and that when they did and her machine worked, no one would be the wiser the problem is she was nowhere near already elizabeth holmes was revered as the superwoman scientist who would come to the rescue and revolutionize the u.s health system
The true heroes of the Theronos story, however, are the courageous whistleblowers who assisted investigative journalist john kararu of the Wall Street Journal in exposing the sham of their testimonies. He went on to write the award-winning Bad Blood and is hosting a podcast called Bad Blood The Final Chapter these are people who wanted to do good these are people who couldn’t sleep at night because they were frightened
Patients were depending on bogus findings, did that strike you as well? They couldn’t in good conscience continue going to not say anything, so they felt compelled to speak out, believing that lives were in risk and that the longer this went on, the worse it would get.
When her objections were disregarded by Theranos, she left in disgust, but she still believes it was all a farce, so why would you receive a slap on the wrist you know if it was just money that’s one thing.
Concerned about its consumers
Erica alerted regulators to what was going on behind closed doors you were being extraordinarily brave yes you clearly felt compelled to get someone else’s even though it was scary and nerve-racking at the time theranose was threatening to sue me and they were following me to sort of intimidate me and not speak up against them
It’s just that they needed to stop doing this thing correctly, that they needed to stop testing on patients, and that the truth needed to be revealed. This is what happens when you work to change things and first they think you’re crazy, then they fight you, and then you change the world. Elizabeth Holmes came out fighting, but regulators acted against her.
Closing down Theranos laboratories and banning medical testing after discovering massive fraud that put patients in grave danger, the company that was once valued at nine billion dollars was now worth zero, and that was good because the mission was finally accomplished by that point, and I was able to sleep at night and realize that you know my work was done.
In a separate legal action, Elizabeth and ex-boyfriend Sunny Balwani are now in the midst of a delayed criminal trial for defrauding investors, patients, and doctors, and could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. The Holmes trial has been pushed back to the end of this month, first by covert and then by news she was expecting her first child, a son born in July to get pregnant.
What about the baby, do you think this was a planned pregnancy or do you think it was an accident I definitely think it was I mean I was predicting it because it’s the best way to garner sympathy to try to keep yourself out of prison I think she needs to go to prison for a while I think she needs to go to prison for a while I think she needs to go to prison for a while I think she needs to go to prison for a while I think she needs
While I feel 25 years is sufficient, others closest to theranos’ goal, including investor eileen lipra, believe elizabeth holmes should suffer the toughest penalties since, apart from money, so much was at risk for everyone.