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Executives of Telehealth Company Accused of Fraud That Gave Easy Access to Addictive Adderall Drug

The founder and CEO of a California-based online mental health company, along with its clinical president, were arrested on Thursday for allegedly improperly prescribing addictive stimulants such as Adderall during the COVID-19 pandemic. This action exacerbated the shortage of these drugs for legitimate medical users, according to officials.

Ruthia He, CEO of Done Global Inc., and clinical president David Brody were apprehended in Los Angeles and San Rafael, California, respectively. They are accused of conspiring to offer easy access to Adderall and other stimulant medications primarily used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The scheme allegedly involved charging patients a monthly subscription fee, announced the U.S. Justice Department.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a warning on Thursday about potential disruptions in access to care for patients relying on such telehealth platforms to obtain medications, affecting an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 individuals nationwide. The ongoing shortage of prescription drugs like Adderall, used in ADHD treatment, prompted the CDC to advise against obtaining medication from sources other than licensed clinicians and pharmacies.

Last February, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced plans to reinstate longstanding federal requirements mandating in-person doctor visits for prescriptions of addictive drugs such as OxyContin and Adderall. This move was in response to concerns that some telehealth startups were improperly prescribing these medications.

Anne Milgram, a DEA official, emphasized, “In many cases, Done Global prescribed ADHD medications when they were not medically necessary,” adding, “Any diversion of Adderall and other prescription stimulant pills to persons who have no medical need only exacerbates this shortage and hurts any American with a legitimate medical need for these drugs.”

According to prosecutors, He and Brody allegedly continued distributing drugs in this manner despite awareness of social media reports that some Done Global patients had overdosed and died. They are also accused of deceiving pharmacies and health insurance providers to ensure prescription fulfillment and payment, resulting in approximately $14 million in excess payments from Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance companies, as per the news release.

The charges against He and Brody carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

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