Quest Vitamin D Results a Bit High

January 29th, 2009 | Sources: NY Times

In letters to thousands of physicians that cared for at least one affected patient, Quest Diagnostics has acknowledged providing incorrect results on Vitamin D tests carried out at its facilities between early 2007 and mid-2008.

Quest is the nation’s largest lab testing company with $7 billion in annual revenue.

Company spokespeople indicated the problem affected less than 10% of all Vitamin D tests done during the period, and that the problem has been resolved. The company is offering free do-overs for affected patients.

Most of the errors involved overstating the true Vitamin D level, which could mean that some patients did not receive supplements as they should have, according to the New York Times.

It’s “the largest patient test recall I’m aware of in my 20 years in the business,” Robert L. Michel told the Times.

Michel edits the Dark Report, a newsletter that broke the story.

The inaccuracies came after Quest shifted to a new Vitamin D assay that relied on mass spectroscopy. The new test had been adopted to improve accuracy and offer more information.

Wael Salameh, a medical director for endocrinology at Quest traced the problem to faulty materials used to calibrate the spectroscopes and to occasional failures to follow proper calibration procedures.

In recent years, Vitamin D testing has surged in response to studies showing that deficiencies of the fat-soluble vitamin are more widespread than had been thought, and are associated with increased risk of bone disease, immune deficiencies, cancer and cardiovascular disease.


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