Digital mental health technology company Cerebral will not prescribe Adderall and Ritalin to new patients amid a recent wave of criticism over its prescribing practices, the company announced on Wednesday.
New patients from Monday May 9 will no longer be able to receive Ritalin or Adderall, which are primarily used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The policy change will not affect existing patients, Cerebral said Wednesday. The company will continue to prescribe other controlled substances. The company's ADHD policy sparked a lawsuit last week. Former Cerebral vice president of products and engineering, Matthew True be, said the company puts profits before patient safety. In the lawsuit, he alleges that Cerebral planned to increase customer loyalty by prescribing ADHD stimulants to 100% of its patients and encouraged doctors to prescribe the drugs. True be alleged he was fired for speaking out about the practice.
A Cerebral spokesperson denied the allegations. Cerebral CEO Kyle Robertson said in a blog post that the company has never reprimanded anyone for not writing prescriptions.
Business Insider reported that the Drug Enforcement Agency was investigating the company and speaking with former employees. A Cerebral spokesperson said, "We don't speak on behalf of the DEA, but we are not aware of anything other than normal interactions in the normal course of our business."
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Separately, the Wall Street Journal reported that national drugstore chains were investigating prescribing practices at Cerebral and another company, Done Health. The story alleged that CVS Health, Walmart, and Walgreens blocked and delayed certain Cerebral and Done Health prescriptions due to problems prescribing Adderall. The online pharmacy, True Pill, has confirmed that it has stopped filling prescriptions for Adderall and other controlled substances.
Cerebral and Done Health disputed the report, saying the prescription delays are due to administrative reasons involving insurance companies and drug availability. During the public health emergency, the Drug Enforcement Agency eliminated in-person prescreening requirements for controlled substance prescriptions via telehealth.
Cerebral said a clinical review board would review all of its paid social ads, after social media sites removed its ads for breaking body image shaming rules.
The company's announcement said obesity is "five times more common" in adults with ADHD. Cerebral also named its current chief medical officer, Dr. David Mou, as the company's new president, citing his commitment to "clinical quality, patient safety and compliance." She also hired Jacqueline Kniska as Compliance Officer. Kniska joins Cerebral from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she served as Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer.
Cerebral was founded in 2019 by Kyle Robertson and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ho Anh. It has received $462 million in funding since launch and is valued at nearly $5 billion. In December, it raised $300 million in a Series C funding round led by Softbank Vision.
Cerebral is facing another lawsuit from a former contract doctor who alleges the company violated California labor code laws, including not paying overtime properly and not reimbursing not business related expenses. A company spokesperson declined to disclose the split between contractors and full-time employees.