Boycott LabCorp

Track Your Plaque Members have been following this conversation on the Track Your Plaque Forum.

A good number of people have had their blood drawn for NMR lipoprotein analysis through laboratories operated by the Laboratory Corporation of American, or LabCorp. When the results were returned, the very important page 2 of the report was withheld. Many of us have communicated with the company, only to be given some corporate-speak about internal policy.

I have personally expressed my dissatisfaction, my outrage, at this silly policy. Why would laboratory results that you or your insurance paid for be denied to you? It is my understanding that, on request, you are legally entitled to the information. The page 2 information is provided by the laboratory (Liposcience, Inc.) that actually performs the testing. LabCorp does nothing more than draw the blood, prepare the specimen, then convey and dilute the results that Liposcience reports to them.

My personal suspicion is that the LabCorp people do this to 1) make the results appear that they actually performed the tests and not farmed to an outside laboratory (Liposcience), and 2) not further confuse and befuddle the bungling primary care physician who barely understands cholesterol issues to begin with. "LDL, HDL, triglycerides . . . What now--a bunch of new information, bars even!?

To me, this LabCorp policy is criminal. In fact, I wonder if this has the substance to justify a class action lawsuit against LabCorp. I believe that we can easily make a case that crucial health information is being systematically denied to people.

If this has affected you, or if you share in the frustration of many people who have had watered down lipoprotein results provided, write to:

Ken Younts, VP of Sales at LabCorp.

Or, write to:

Tom MacMahon
Chairman of the Board

David P. King
President and Chief Executive Officer

Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings
358 South Main Street
Burlington, NC 27215

Thanks to the Track Your Plaque Members who have already participated in this campaign and written to the LabCorp people. And thanks to our Members who uncovered the contact information.

Until then, please BOYCOTT LABCORP LABORATORIES. Please do not use LabCorp Laboratories if you can avoid it. Simply ask the laboratory staff who operates the lab and they should tell you. It is your right to know.

Comments (13) -

  • Anonymous

    8/27/2007 3:48:00 AM |

    Can you get the page 2 result directly from Liposcience?

  • Dr. Davis

    8/27/2007 4:04:00 AM |

    We've tried and encountered resistance.

    The Liposcience people have deferred to LabCorp when the results were delivered via LabCorp. I believe that  Liposcience is honoring the terms of a contract. LabCorp is serving its own misguided purposes.

  • Anonymous

    8/27/2007 7:48:00 PM |

    Dr. Davis,

    When you get VAP results from  Quest all the info is included,to include the ApoB100.

    LabCorp reports almost all the info except the ApoB100 number. So, they don't include one line not a whole page.  I realize this may not help LabCorp much and may just be more fuel to the fire, but I thought you should know.

    The nice thing about VAP is that you get Lp(a) without having to pay for an additional test like you do if you want NMR and Lp(a).

    Thanks and keep up the good work!

  • Anonymous

    10/26/2007 2:58:00 PM |

    As a former employee of LabCorp, I would like to offer another possibility, they just screwed up.  The aim of top management has been to run up the stock price (and the value of their stock options)at the expense of their clients and employees.  The IT department in particular has been hard hit by corporate corner-cutting that has turned the flow of information from client to lab and back again into a nightmare. Losing a page of data from patient results is a very real possibility. MacMahon et. al. have been made aware of these problems in the past and yet continued their destructive policies.  I seriously doubt they will pay any attention to your complaints now.  Protect yourself and just go elsewhere.

  • Anonymous

    4/13/2008 6:05:00 PM |

    As another former employee, I tried sharing similiar concerns about issues like this, and they ended up firing me. Take your business elsewhere!

  • Labcorp Sucks

    4/27/2008 2:38:00 AM |

    LabCorp Sucks! I have had so many problems with them that I finally got fed up and created a website just to document all the complaints that people have against this sorry excuse for a clinical lab company, We will be taking all the complaints and providing them to investigative agencies in government. While they have some very nice people working for them, the majority of their mid-level managers are incompetent. Maybe after they are all unemployed they will "get it". Al -

  • Anonymous

    5/23/2008 9:31:00 PM |

    Hi Dr. Davis, we've got the same problem, except it's with a hemochromatosis test that was just run. When we get my husband's blood iron count levels tested at the Red Cross, the nurses always raise their eyebrows, and say, my goodness! You have a LOT of iron in your blood!
    My husband was adopted in NC, which is THE hotspot for JH (juvenile hemochromatosis) in the United States. He has all the symptoms, has suffered them since he was very little, and they've become increasingly worse over the years. Doctors have looked him over and have never been able to figure out what is wrong. Some even told him he was simply lazy! We finally stumbled across this website for JH one day... and said, Eureka! That's EXACTLY it! He feels a million times better after he's bled... which gradually worsens over the next day or two, but for that little while, he's free of pain and loves life.
    So we went to get him tested, and guess what... the results came back "negative." What the heck does "negative" mean? There are numbers for each test, right? We are looking for an independent blood lab with a commitment to quality... do you have any suggestions? We fear that the damage to his organs is so great that he needs help NOW, if you have any suggestions, we'd love to know! The tests are total iron binding count, serum iron and serum ferritin.

    I must confess that I have worked at the Burlington location of LabCorp and have witnessed lab techs goofing off instead of watching the tests done, some of them timed precisely to give the accurate reading. Many of the people there are hired because of nepotism or cronyism and do not have the skills necessary or the lab degrees that they should, but have been "grandfathered" in. I know others who have worked there who ran microbiological testing and would screw up entire batches of gram pos/neg tests because they couldn't run the machine right... HUNDREDS of tests to be run again. If they sit too long, you get false positives and negatives... way to go... you could be dying, and you won't know! Way to go!

    We're thinking about suing them if we get independent lab tests done and they come back positive (which they should... it's just a classic case). It's a fatal disease and he needs immediate help.

  • Anonymous

    6/26/2008 3:23:00 AM |

    You need to have an unsaturated iron binding capacity done, all of the other test could be negative but very few labs calculate this test.  It is the most important when testing for hereditary hemachromatosis.  I broght  it up to our lab manager about a month ago and we started running it with all of our iron profiles.  We are starting to see more positives of this test along with the negatives on the total iron, tibc and iron saturation.  This test really makes a difference.  Feel free to email me, I would be happy to give you some advice.

  • Anonymous

    1/16/2009 1:46:00 AM |

    I have even a more serious complaint with this lab. I am a patient of a doctor for chronic pain and nasty panic attacks.

    It cost me $240 cash to have a drug test to prove to my doctor I AM taking both my pain and nerve meds. It's true, the UNINSURED people are the ones paying the price, we get charged the FULL RATE, medical insurance will negotiate a much lower price (I tried and they laughed at me!!) Well people, I hate too tell you this, but my results were NOT accurate and it may very well cost me my sanity and even my job if I have no meds during a work related panic attack I will be unable to work and likely will end up in the hospital, still with no medical insurance. I did everything I was supposed to to as told and directed.

    The medication not detected was Klonopin (Clonazepam)- I have needed and taken this medication along with my pain killers for years, and now my life is much better and I can once again work for a living. Because of this screwed up test result my life now is in the hands of LabCorp and my doctor. - Most likely I will end up in a hospital if my doctor cuts me off. I’m in shock over this. I’m innocent. I can not understand what the problem is with the lab not detecting this particular nerve/panic med, but I have read that it’s happening to others too.

    I have found much evidence that shows how the most expensive drug testing labs can go by NOT detecting Klonopin (Clonazepam)in patients that take it- and you can bet I have submitted all of such information to my doctor. This is my life as I know whats at stake here, (A LOT!!) and for $240 one would think a lab could find a med I was taking every single day for years, and even on the day of the drug test.

    I had to pay CASH $$ for my drug test, so I hate their rates AND their screwed up lab work. My life as I know it is in the hands of a bunch of people that can screw up my life for a very long time. I suggest NOBODY uses this drug testing company.

    Now I have to worry about real life nightmares hitting me while I drive, all because of a drug test that was wrong and a doctor that places too much faith in such tests. I’m not very happy, and I’m broke. I did nothing wrong and I fear there must be many others just like me in the same boat. Doctors should not place so much faith in these drug tests- they can be WRONG!


  • buy jeans

    11/2/2010 7:41:06 PM |

    To me, this LabCorp policy is criminal. In fact, I wonder if this has the substance to justify a class action lawsuit against LabCorp. I believe that we can easily make a case that crucial health information is being systematically denied to people.

  • Anonymous

    4/2/2011 9:28:39 PM |

    As a fromer employee and department manager for Labcorp I do now that from a Legal standpoint we are a third party that is contracted with your primary care physician to do you lab work.  If you ahve not received all of the information on a lab report then you need to bring thast up with your primary care physician.  We are only aloowed to release information directly to them in most cases, becasue we are a third party.  More often than not the final page of a report does not have anything on it but Labcorp information and nothing related to your test results.  As I said before the best option would be to go to your primary care physician and find out if they have the second page you are looking for and if not get them to request the page you are looking for or get a form of permission from your Dr to release this information to you.  The second part of this could take a little while becasue of our legal responsibilities in our contracts with the Dr's.  The lab that Iworked in was very thorough and caring about their patients and would have taken the time to explain why we could not release these results directly to you.  It is unfortunate that the lab you worked with did not take then time to help you further in your quest.  As with most compnaies some locations are not run as well as others.

  • pjnoir

    4/19/2011 7:27:52 PM |

    okay its 4/2011    has anything changed?   I need to get this test done. what are my options?  I do get the numbers I need, right?

  • dr. mason

    2/27/2013 1:36:14 PM |

    Feb 2013
    LabCorp in Palo Alto on Middlefield Rd.  was shocking.  I thought I was in the third world.
    Understaffed, specimens sat overnight, specimen box on floor outside on sidewalk, rude and very
    stressed staff person working alone and doing the job of 3 people taking it out on the customers.
    Our medical system is the worst of all the developing countries and the most expensive.    Blood
    analysis is the heart of that system and if its completely deteriorated and no monitoring agency is
    able to enforce standards, then what hope is there?  something is terribly wrong.

"Friday is my bad day"

"Friday is my bad day"

At the start, Ted had a ton of small LDL particles. His starting (NMR) lipoprotien values:

LDL particle number: 2644 nmol/L

Small LDL: 2301 nmol/L

In other words, approximately 85% of all LDL particles were abnormally small. I showed Ted how to use diet to markedly reduce small LDL particles, including elimination of wheat, limiting other carbohydrates, and even counting carbohydrates to keep the quantity no higher than 15 grams per meal ("net" carbs).

Ted comes back 6 months later, having lost 14 pounds in the process (and now with weight stabilized). Another round of lipoproteins show:

LDL particle number: 1532 nmol/L

Small LDL: 799 nmol/L

Better, but not perfect. small LDL persists, representing nearly 50% of total LDL particle number.

So I quiz Ted about his diet. "Gee, I really stick to this diet. I have nothing made of wheat, no sugars. I count my carbs and I almost never go higher . . . except on Fridays."

"What happens on Friday?" I asked.

"That's when I'm bad. Not really bad. Maybe just a couple of slices of pizza. Or I'll go out for a big custard cone or something. That wouldn't do it, would it?"

That's the explanation. Your liver is well-equipped to recognize normal, large LDL particles. Large LDL particles therefore "live" for only a couple of days in the bloodstream. But the human liver does not recognize the peculiar configuration of small LDL particles, so it lets them pass--over and over and over again. The result: Once triggered by, say two slices of pizza, small LDL particles persist for 5 days, sometimes longer.

So Ted's one "bad" day per week is enough to allow a substantial quantity of small LDL particles to persist. While a fat indulgence (if there is such a thing) pushes large LDL up, the effect is relatively short-lived. Have a carbohydrate indulgence, on the other hand, and small LDL particles persist for up to a week. It means that Ted's one "bad" day per week is enough to allow his small LDL particles to persist at this level, preventing him from gaining full control over coronary plaque.

It also means that, if you have blood drawn for lipoprotein analysis but had a carbohydrate goodie within the previous week, small LDL particles may be exaggeratedly high.

Comments (29) -

  • yuma

    11/19/2011 4:45:34 PM |

    This is scary! One bad day sets you back a week.
    I limit my carbohydrates (zero grains, no more than 25 grams of sugar) to no more than 100 per day. How low should I go?

  • Jeff

    11/19/2011 8:44:09 PM |

    Dr. Davis, I think we need some clarification on "carbohydrates" -such as which sub-group, sugars (of which there are also sub-groups), starches (more sub-groups), and fiber (more sub groups) need limits. Obviously, sugars are of top concern, with starches following close behind. But arent some of the fiber carbohydrates desirable?

  • Jeff

    11/19/2011 8:45:36 PM |

    I think your website clock is off by twelve hours.....

  • Mary Titus

    11/19/2011 10:58:44 PM |

    How would this affect triglycerides, Dr. Davis.

  • Might-o'chondri-AL

    11/20/2011 4:24:33 AM |

    Hi All-
    Got server error where this belongs, so...about lamestream media hype of vitamin D & fibrilation here is the study's own press release - they only worry about D over 100ng/ml.
    Quote:  "... Dr. Bunch and his colleagues examined blood tests from 132,000 patients in the Intermountain Healthcare database.Patients did not have any known history of atrial fibrillation, and all had previously received a vitamin D assessment as part of their routine care. Patients were then placed into categories to compare levels of vitamin D: low (less than 20 nanograms per decilter), low/normal (21-40 ng/dl), normal (41-80 ng/dl), high/normal (81-100 ng/dl), and excess (more than 100).Patients with vitamin D levels in the normal range were compared with other groups to assess their risk of developing atrial fibrillation.
    In patients with low, low-normal, normal and high-normal levels of vitamin D there was no increased risk of atrial fibrillation.  However, in those with excess levels of vitamin D there was a significant increased risk of atrial fibrillation.  Atrial fibrillation risk was two and a half times greater in patients with excess levels of vitamin D compared to those with normal levels."

  • Teresa

    11/20/2011 2:42:29 PM |

    Thanks for bringing that up, Al.  I had heard of the study, but hadn't gotten around to looking it up.  

    Two and a half times higher risk of atrial fibrillation may not be as much of an increase as it sounds.  It depends on how many people were in the group, and what the real numbers are.  I found this on WebMD:

    The risk of a-fib in those with normal levels of vit D was 1.4%.  With high levels, it was 3.8%.  It isn't that much of a difference, and not as significant as it would be if the risk went from say 10% to 25%.  It is also not as significant if the group number is very small, but we don't have that information.  

    I also found this note on a case study in which a-fib stopped after starting vit D.  Go figure.

  • Dr. William Davis

    11/20/2011 3:53:11 PM |

    Triglycerides tend to go up, Mary, though not with the same magnitude as small LDL particles.

  • Dr. William Davis

    11/20/2011 3:57:27 PM |

    Hi, Jeff--

    The problem with the fiber is that it comes with digestible carbohydrate. It means that a slice of white Wonder bread triggers small LDL, but so does a cup of quinoa, millet, or buckwheat, all fiber-rich grains.

    Got to be careful: We can't fall for the same logic that has fooled generations of nutritionists: If something bad for you is replaced by something less bad and there is apparent benefit, lots of the less bad thing is good for you.

  • Dr. William Davis

    11/20/2011 3:58:35 PM |

    Wow, that's a lot, Yuma.

    It varies with individual carbohydrate sensitivity, but most people tolerate 15 grams per meal well without postprandial rises in blood glucose or triggering of small LDL.

  • STG

    11/20/2011 4:26:57 PM |

    Dr. Davis:
    It amazes me how some nutritionists  (e.g., ADA or AHA  based) and diet book writers encourage people to cheat on their diets without considering the health impacts. Clearly a mixed message when one is told to make changes, but then told that they can ignore the dietary changes once a week or on special occasions or holidays.

  • Dr Matti Tolonen

    11/21/2011 11:44:07 AM |

    Hi doc, are you sure you have the right units (nmol/l)? Hwere in  Europe, the target for LDL is less than 3 mmol/l which would equal to 3000 µg/l (not nmol/l).

  • Dr. William Davis

    11/21/2011 1:39:01 PM |

    Hi, STG--

    Yes, it is amazing. I have done so many lipoprotein panels (tens of thousands) that I see patterns that a casual observer would not see. This is a substantial, though underappreciated, effect.

  • Jim

    11/21/2011 2:11:19 PM |

    Great post Doc! That really brings the message home.

  • Jeff

    11/21/2011 3:43:08 PM |

    Actually, I am questioning how much do we ned to be concerned about the carbohydrate content of things like green peppers or onions? Flax seed has a nearly all-fiber carb content, doesn't it? What's a safe daily target for total carbohydrate intake, and how should we do the math, if any?

  • Kent

    11/21/2011 4:18:48 PM |

    Knowing that high postprandial glucose levels cause an increase in small ldl particles. And we know that carbohydrates, especially wheat, significantly raise post prandial glucose levels. Would it make sense that Ted could cheat on Fridays with a carb load and still drop his particle score just by exercising after being bad if it kept his glucose levels from spiking?

  • Renfrew

    11/21/2011 10:19:10 PM |

    exercising after "cheating" (eating carbs) MAY work, especially for people who still have enough residual beta cells left in their pancreas and not much insulin resistance. But often exercise is counterproductive because the exercise raises cortisol levels which in turn release blood sugar from the liver. This can only be determined by tight blood sugar measuring (pre/post exercise).

  • Dr. William Davis

    11/22/2011 3:16:41 AM |

    Hi, Jeff--

    It varies, but most people can do well with around 15 grams carbohydrate grams ("net" carbs, meaning total carbs minus fiber) per meal.

  • Dr. William Davis

    11/22/2011 3:17:26 AM |

    This has never been studied, Kent, but I suspect that exercising will only partially blunt the effect, not eliminate it.

  • steve

    11/23/2011 2:36:27 AM |

    Dr Davis:
    Where do you come out regarding the "safe starch" debate on the Jimmy Moore website?

  • Lindas

    11/23/2011 2:47:10 AM |

    Can anyone (or Dr. Davis)  tell me what they include in their 15 gr. carb meals?  how many carbs per day total,,,,SNACKS ETC? does this cause ketosis?  I've been trying to eat right,  however, at 8:30 PM my blood sugar was 112. is that bad or ok?  I'm a 61 year old woman. my calcium score 4/11 was 206. thank you

  • Dr. William Davis

    11/25/2011 2:13:48 PM |

    Sorry, Steve, I'm not familiar with that term.

    If you are referring to amylose, the form of carbohydrate that is less efficiently digested, it will boil down to blood sugar consequences of a specific amylose-containing food.

  • Dr. William Davis

    11/25/2011 2:15:10 PM |

    Hi, Lindas--

    I aim for blood sugar to stay below 100 mg/dl--all the time, including after meals.

    Ketosis can occur, though usually not. Eat vegetables, nuts and nut meals, oils, olives, avocados, meats, cheese. Plenty to eat without wheat and limited carbs.

  • Chris Buck

    11/26/2011 5:09:38 AM |

    Can I add vegetables does not include potatoes, corn, and rice - just to be clear.

  • Dr. William Davis

    11/27/2011 2:16:38 PM |

    Yes, correct. They will trigger small LDL if consumed in anything but the smallest portion size (e.g., more than 1/2 cup).

  • steve

    11/28/2011 6:18:55 PM |

    Dr Davis:
    The "safe starch" discussion is related to rice and potatoes being "safe starch" according to the writers of the Perfect Health Diet, The Jaminets.

    1/2 cup serving per meal X3 = 1.5 cups per day.  If three meals consumed in a day and zero at one meal could you eat 1 cup at one meal, and 1/2 cup at another and still be ok from an overall perspective?
    Are you advocating zero rice, potatoes as well as wheat and other starches?
    How is the level of acceptable maximum small LDL?
    Which would you find more acceptable for a person with CAD with normal weight, thryroid, D?
    LDL 2200
    small 200
    HDL 69
    The above with no statins; or
    LDL 650
    small <90
    HDL 60
    The above with statins
    Both with virtually zero starch
    Is zero starch healthy?  Will zero starch induce thyroid issues?
    Meat, chesse, fish, veggie diet healthy ok for those who cannot eat nuts?

    Wheat Belly sound advice; I have recommended it to several who have  gotten the book

  • STG

    11/29/2011 3:19:21 AM |

    Dr. Davis:
    What population develops small LDL--your patients, anyone who eats carbohydrates, individuals with defective glucose metabolism (e.g., prediabetic, diabetic, insulin resistant)?

  • Dr. William Davis

    12/1/2011 4:22:34 AM |

    Yes and yes. It is truly ubiquitous with few modern people escaping it.

  • Dr. William Davis

    12/1/2011 4:27:04 AM |

    Hi, Steve--

    The triggering of small LDL tends to be dependent on the contents of a single meal. It does not necessarily mean zero carbohydrates, but staying below the threshold for provocation, which can be approximated by checking a 1-hour postprandial glucose: If any rise above the pre-prandial level is seen, then there is potential for provoking small LDL.

    There is no confident answer to which is better. But, given the apo E4-driven or other abnormal metabolic pattern with the LDL particle number of 2200, I would opt for statin, much as I hate to say it.

  • Amos

    12/7/2011 7:25:33 AM |

    I'm not familiar with American blood sugar levels....what on earth would it mean to keep blood sugar under 100, in Canadian terms?  (I've been given a target of 4-7 before meals, and 7-9 after meals....)