FDA Looks to Clamp Down on Laboratory-Developed Tests and Put an End to ‘Wild West of Medicine’: Might CLIA Problems at Theranos Support FDA’s Position?

The Wall Street Journal examines the FDA’s position on LDTs and looks at the pros and cons of LDT regulation by the federal agency

National news coverage over the deficiencies uncovered by Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) inspections of the clinical laboratory operated by Theranos in Newark, Calif., may have an interesting consequence that affects all medical laboratories and pathology groups.

Over the past 30 months, Theranos has regularly asserted that its laboratory-developed tests (LDTs) were under review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For example, in an interview published in the December 14, 2014, issue of The New Yorker, Theranos Founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes stated, “We believe that to realize our vision we must operate at the highest levels of excellence… And the FDA’s stamp of approval is seen as an indicator of the quality of a product.”

Thus, it would be ironic if the problems in the quality of clinical laboratory tests uncovered by federal CLIA inspectors at the Theranos lab facility in Newark was used by the FDA to justify their intent to regulate LDTs. The FDA has already released a report to the public that identified instances where laboratories running LDTs were alleged to have reported inaccurate lab test results to patients and their physicians. (more…)