After watching Hulu’s The Dropout, many viewers want to know more about Theranos and Walgreens. Yes, Elizabeth Holmes (portrayed by Amanda Seyfried) put Wellness Centers in at least 41 Walgreens stores, as indicated by the true-crime drama. Additionally, Kevin Hunter (portrayed by Rich Sommer) is a real person. Oddly, Sunny Balwani escorted to the bathroom, as shown in The Dropout Episode 4.
‘The Dropout’ Episode 4 recap: Walgreens and Theranos
In The Dropout Episode 4, viewers meet Walgreens CFO Wade Miquelon (Josh Pais), Jay Rosan (Alan Ruck), and Kevin Hunter. Rosan convinces the CFO to consider putting Theranos blood-testing clinics into Walgreens. Then, Miquelon sends Rosan and Hunter to complete due diligence at Theranos. However, when they arrive, it’s evident that Sunny Balwani and Elizabeth Holmes will not allow them into the labs to inspect the technology.
Instead, Holmes creates an atmosphere that makes the Walgreens team feel they’re missing out if they do not sign a deal with Theranos. By the end of The Dropout Episode 4, Rosan talks the Walgreens CFO into signing an agreement with Theranos, despite never seeing the blood-testing technology. Kevin Hunter is not happy that Miquelon would move forward without ever entering the lab at Theranos.
Theranos made it into 41 Walgreens stores
Despite protests from Kevin Hunter, Theranos began putting testing centers into stores by late 2013. Hunter left the Walgreens Theranos project before the devices made it to brick-and-mortar stores. The ABC podcast, The Dropout reported that by 2015 there were 41 Theranos Wellness Centers in Walgreens across California and Arizona.
However, Hunter wasn’t the only one worried about putting the Theranos blood-testing devices in Walgreens stores. Senior Theranos scientist Surekha Gangakhedkar quit when she realized the Edison blood-testing device was heading to Walgreens stores despite their inaccurate test results.
“I was very stressed and unhappy and concerned with the way the launch was going,” Gangakhedkar testified in Holmes’ trial (CNBC). “I was not comfortable with the plans that they had in place, so I made a decision to resign and not continue working there.”
‘The Dropout’: Who is the real-life Kevin Hunter?
Kevin Hunter appeared in the ABC News podcast, The Dropout. He spoke about Stanford dropout Elizabeth Holmes and her initiative to put Theranos wellness centers into Walgreens stores. He explained that he grew up in the pharmaceutical industry from a young age. At that time, his family owned a small chain of drug stores in Albany, New York. Hunter’s LinkedIn profile notes he is a “veteran laboratory professional” with over 20 years of experience.
His specific expertise lies in improving health systems, medical centers, and commercial labs. Additionally, Hunter provides leadership and mentoring for laboratories across the country. He sounds like a perfect fit for analyzing a blood-testing device based on his profile. However, he described the awkward situation he encountered when visiting the Theranos headquarters for Walgreens.