Prosecutors allege that former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes attempted to "flee the country" following her January 2022 fraud conviction, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from California and the District of Columbia.
- California: Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes booked a one-way plane ticket to Mexico following her January 2022 fraud conviction, according to a court document filed Thursday. In the document, prosecutors allege that the booking was an "attempt to flee the country." Just three days before the flight, which was scheduled to depart Jan. 26, 2022, government attorneys learned of the flight and alerted Holmes's legal team. According to her legal team, she booked the flight before her conviction, with plans to attend a wedding in Mexico. Holmes canceled the ticket, "but it is difficult to know with certainty what [the] Defendant would have done had the government not intervened," according to the prosecutors. On Sunday, Holmes's attorneys filed a document denying that she attempted to flee, alleging that the prosecutors "recklessly and incorrectly accuse Ms. Holmes and her partner of attempted flight and present incomplete and provably inaccurate statements of fact in support of that accusation." (Ables, Washington Post, 1/24)
- District of Columbia: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Thursday issued new guidelines for products with an "organic" label for the first time in more than 30 years. In the new guidelines, USDA outlines production, handling, and sales requirements for all organic products. In addition, the guidelines place "layers of protection" around USDA's organic seal. "The Strengthening Organic Enforcement rule is the biggest update to the organic regulations since the original Act in 1990, providing a significant increase in oversight and enforcement authority to reinforce the trust of consumers, farmers, and those transitioning to organic production. This success is another demonstration that USDA fully stands behind the organic brand," said Jenny Lester Moffitt, USDA's under-secretary for marketing and regulatory programs. (Associated Press, 1/19; Hassan, CNN, 1/19; Reiley, Washington Post, 1/19)
- District of Columbia: President Joe Biden on Sunday signed an executive order that directs members of his cabinet to draft a report on the barriers U.S. women face when trying to obtain medication for an abortion. In two months, the cabinet members must submit the report to the White House's Interagency Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access. "Since the day of the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, President Biden has emphasized the need to protect access to mifepristone, a drug used in medication abortion that has been approved by the FDA for over 20 years and accounts for the majority of all abortions in the United States," the White House said in a fact sheet. "Members of our Cabinet and our administration are now directed as of the president's order to identify barriers to access to prescription medication and to recommend actions to make sure that doctors can legally prescribe, that pharmacies can dispense and that women can secure safe and effective medication," said Vice President Kamala Harris said Sunday at an event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. (Chi-Sing, Fox News, 1/22; Frieden, MedPage Today, 1/23)