DOJ investigating telehealth startup after allegations of overprescribing stimulants

Telehealth startup Cerebral has been subpoenaed by federal prosecutors after allegations of overprescribing controlled substances, The Wall Street Journal reported May 7.

Cerebral said it received a grand jury subpoena on May 4 from the U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District of New York. The subpoena was issued to Cerebral Medical Group, the corporation it uses to contract with clinicians and provide healthcare services. 

The company said it intends to cooperate with the investigation and that no regulatory or law-enforcement authority has accused it of violating any law.

This comes shortly after Cerebral Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Kyle Robertson announced in an email that the company would suspend controlled substance prescriptions for new patients starting May 9. 

Cerebral began facing scrutiny from pharmacies across the country that expressed concerns that the telehealth startup's clinicians are writing too many prescriptions for Adderall and other stimulants.

In March, some of Cerebral's nurse practitioners told the Journal that they felt pressured by the company to prescribe stimulants and that the company's 30-minute patient evaluations weren't long enough to properly diagnose ADHD. 

Cerebral's preferred pharmacy partner, ​​Truepill Inc., also stopped filling prescriptions for stimulants when a former executive filed a lawsuit alleging the company put growth before patient safety. 

The company said the allegations in the employee lawsuit were false and that it does not pressure its clinicians to prescribe stimulants.

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