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Hundreds of People Mistakenly Told They Have Cancer in Biotech Software Mishap The biotechnology company, Grail, said a software issue caused one of its vendors to accidentally send nearly 400 letters mistakenly telling patients they have cancer.

By Madeline Garfinkle

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Galleri is a multi-cancer detection kit that scans for signals of more than 50 kinds of cancer.

Biotech company Grail announced on Friday that hundreds of patients were mistakenly informed they may have cancer after purchasing one of its products, Galleri.

According to the company, Galleri scans for and detects "common cancer signals" of more than 50 types of cancer through a simple blood draw, the results of which then inform further diagnosis. It's only available through a prescription from a healthcare provider and while cost may vary depending on coverage, the Galleri test kit has a listing price of $949.

Grail attributed the mishap to one of its vendors, PWNHealth, saying it was the result of "software configuration issues," which have since been resolved, the company told Entrepreneur. On May 19, Grail was notified by PWNHealth that inaccurate form letters were sent to about 400 individuals between May 10 and May 18.

Related: The Career Rise and Fall of Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes

Upon notification of the software incident by PWNHealth, Grail reached out to the 400 patients who had received incorrect letters by telephone or email until Grail could confirm that every affected individual was informed of the mistake.

The company also said the letters with incorrect results were "in no way related to or caused by an incorrect Galleri test result" and more than half of the individuals who received false test results hadn't even had their blood drawn yet for the Galleri test.

Since using Galleri requires a formal blood draw, Grail works with a series of independent telemedicine vendors, like PWNHealth, to administer and review blood tests for Galleri and then subsequently deliver results to the individuals.

Entrepreneur has reached out to PWNHealth for comment.

Related: The 9 Biggest Bookkeeping Mistakes Small Businesses Make (and How to Avoid Them)

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

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