CET Head Raises Questions About TTS COVID-19 Testing

CET Head Raises Questions About TTS COVID-19 Testing

SHERMAN OAKS, Calif. — Dr. Peter Miao, the veteran adult industry physician who oversees the PASS-approved Cutting Edge Testing (CET) draw center, has expressed “major, major concerns” about the non-FDA-approved, $35 COVID-19 test being offered by his competitor Talent Testing Service (TTS).

TTS, also PASS-approved, operates a Florida-based laboratory and various draw centers in other locations, including Northridge in California’s San Fernando Valley. The company is connected to another company called BioCollections Worldwide, with which it shares ownership and headquarters.

Miao spoke to XBIZ about his concern regarding the COVID-19 test offered to adult industry professionals and companies by TTS, which is priced at $35.

Performers who have gotten tested for COVID-19 at TTS have shown Dr. Miao and XBIZ a disclaimer included with the results that the TTS test is “not FDA-approved.”

Miao explained that, currently, the government-set cost for an FDA-approved test is $100, so pricing should be “somewhere around $100,” or a little less or more if the drawing center is taking a loss or adding a small profit.

Miao also explained that earlier on during the pandemic, the FDA allowed laboratories and tests to be more lax in trying different tests in the interest of testing as many people as possible. These relaxed guidelines were later tightened when it was shown that many of those tests “were worthless.”

You Have to Ask Questions

“My concern is that since the pandemic started at the end of February, the government was in a hurry to get testing done and trying to control the pandemic so they approved a whole bunch of laboratories to do PCR testing with a swab,” Miao told XBIZ. “Because of the urgent need to get tested to try to control the pandemic, the FDA allowed a whole bunch of laboratories to do the testing.”

“And now they are realizing, some of the tests are good and some of them are worthless, which is not a good thing,” Miao added. “The FDA has requested many labs to stop doing some of these tests that were initially approved.”

The State of California offers testing for free to individuals, with the cost subsidized by the state or billed to health insurance providers. “Here, anyone who wants a test can get one,” Miao explained. “Call, get an appointment, show up at the test site and get it for free. The government also mandated that the laboratories that are doing the proper, FDA-approved tests can charge no more than $100 and no less than $100. You cannot charge more or less, except $100, to avoid price gouging.”

“Our competitor, TTS (also known as Biocollections Worldwide), is offering COVID-19 testing for $35 and I’ve seen a copy of their results that has a disclaimer saying ‘this is not FDA approved.’ So I’m very concerned because I know the cost to run a proper, FDA-approved good test has to be at least $100 or a little more or a little less depending on your pricing strategy.”

“When someone tells you that it can be done for $35, I have major, major concerns about what test we are exactly talking about,” Miao added. “I don’t know what kind of machine they are using, what platform they are using.”

“When something is too good to be true, you have to ask questions,” the CET principal told XBIZ.

No Answers from TTS

XBIZ repeatedly attempted to contact TTS and BioCollections Worldwide principal Sixto Pacheco over the last week to address these concerns about their testing methods. Neither Pacheco nor any other TTS representative returned our messages.

Last April 24, Pacheco held a conference call with industry stakeholders announcing his intention to "add COVID-19 as part of our algorithm, so it will be formally part of our report when we transmit a clear status." It was unclear at the time if the COVID-19 results from TTS' $35 test would be officially part of the PASS "clear/not clear" result or a separate test.

On May 8, TTS released an announcement that they would "integrate COVID-19 into the Gold Standard panel (GSP) effective Monday, May 11, 2020."

Meanwhile, Miao said CET will continue offering PCR testing by swab.

“We are offering it now and the turnaround will be 24 hrs. And we’ll charge about $110, because our government-regulated cost is $100. CET is not a laboratory, CET has to contract with a laboratory. All the laboratories are mandated to charge $100.”

Given TTS' substantially lower cost, Miao thinks people deciding where to test should seriously consider asking the questions he has raised. “TTS should explain what non-FDA-approved system they are using. That is really the big question in scientific terms.”

“The $35 price does not make any sense,” Miao added.

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