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In this paper, centrifuge-based microfluidic platforms are reviewed and compared with other popular microfluidic propulsion methods. The underlying physical principles of centrifugal pumping in microfluidic systems are presented and the various centrifuge fluidic functions such as valving, decanting, calibration, mixing, metering, heating, sample splitting, and separation are introduced. Those fluidic functions have been combined with analytical measurement techniques such as optical imaging, absorbance and fluorescence spectroscopy and mass spectrometry to make the centrifugal platform a powerful solution for medical and clinical diagnostics and high-throughput screening (HTS) in drug discovery. Applications of a compact disk (CD)-based centrifuge platform analyzed in this paper include two-point calibration of an optode-based ion sensor, an automated immunoassay platform, multiple parallel screening assays, and cellular-based assays. The use of modified commercial CD drives for high-resolution optical imaging is discussed as well. From a broader perspective, we compare technical barriers involved in applying microfluidics for sensing and diagnostics as opposed to applying such techniques to HTS. The latter poses fewer challenges and explains why HTS products based on a CD fluidic platform are already commercially available, while we might have to wait longer to see commercial CD-based diagnostics.