Disrupted Access to Adderall Poses Risks After Telehealth Company Accused of Fraud

Tens of thousands of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder patients nationwide could see their care disrupted after two executives of a major telehealth company that distributed ADHD medications were indicted for fraud in health care.

The Justice Department announced Thursday that the chief executive officer and clinical president of Done, the telehealth company, were arrested and charged with participating in a scheme to distribute Adderall and other stimulants for the ADHD to patients who did not need these medications. bill the losers for these drugs. Done was one of several telehealth companies that became popular during the pandemic lockdowns, when the government eased restrictions on online prescriptions for controlled substances such as Adderall.

“These defendants exploited the Covid-19 pandemic to develop and carry out a $100 million scheme to defraud taxpayers and provide easy access to Adderall and other stimulants without a legitimate medical purpose” , Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a press release.

The indictment comes amid continued shortages of Adderall and another stimulant, Vyvanse. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said up to 50,000 patients across the country who rely on Done or similar telehealth platforms to get stimulant medications could be affected.

“It’s really frustrating for people with long-standing ADHD, or people whose children have long-standing ADHD, to discover that one of the reasons they may be having trouble getting care constant is because of something that appears fraudulent,” he said. said Margaret Sibley, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.

“A lot of people are going to struggle without taking medication regularly,” she added. “I think it’s hard for people who really, really need it.”

The Justice Department alleged that Ruthia He, Done’s chief executive, and the company’s clinical president, David Brody, built the company in part by spending tens of millions of dollars on “misleading advertisements” posted on social media platforms such as Facebook and TikTok. Done’s posts, which often capitalized on trends and memes, frequently featured young people “discovering” on camera that they had ADHD.

Potential patients underwent a one-minute assessment to determine whether they should be treated for ADHD. The company virtually connected patients with clinicians who were then able to diagnose them and prescribe ADHD medications. In some states, patients have been able to see providers in person or have medications delivered. directly to them.

Federal officials also claimed the company limited the information available to Done’s prescribers and directed providers to prescribe stimulants to ineligible patients. Providers were also required to limit initial patient visits to less than half an hour, the Justice Department said. The company could not be reached for comment.

The CDC recommended that people whose current prescriptions are out of medication make an appointment with a health care provider as soon as possible. The agency also warned that seeking stimulants through illegitimate channels carries risks, including that the pills could be counterfeit or contain fentanyl. The CDC has recommended that clinicians prescribe naloxone, an overdose prevention medication, to any patient who obtains ADHD medication outside of the health care system.

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