Pharmaceutical giant CVS to stop filling out prescriptions for telehealth company Cerebral
In another setback for the budding, yet controversial, telehealth mental health company Cerebral, it now will no longer have its prescriptions filled by CVS and Walmart – two of the largest retail pharmacies in America.
It has been a turbulent month for the San Francisco, California-based, company so far, with it facing a Department of Justice (DoJ) subpoena for allegedly misusing drugs like Xanax and Adderall by over describing them. The DoJ probe led to the ousting of Founder and CEO Kyle Robertson last week.
The company rose to popularity in recent months after Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, often regarded as one of the greatest in her craft, signed on as the company’s Chief Impact Officer last year after her notable mental health struggles at the Tokyo Olympics.
Cerebral also faced allegations from former nurse practitioners who report that they felt pressured to diagnose patients with conditions like ADHD and prescribe them controlled drugs like Adderall.
Done Health, a competitor of Cerebral’s that has faced criticism of its own for allegedly distributing controlled substances too easily, will also no longer have its prescriptions by the two retail giants.
Cereberal, the telehealth startup backed by Olympic Champion Simone Biles will no longer have its prescriptions filled by CVS and Walmart in yet another setback
Biles famously struggled with her mental health during the Tokyo Olympics, leading to her pulling out of some events
CVS will no longer fill these prescriptions starting Thursday, citing that it was ‘unable to resolve concerns we have with Cerebral and Done Health.
Earlier this month, Cerebral stopped distributing ADHD drugs Ritalin and Adderall as it faced a probe be federal investigators.
It told Reuters that it planned to work to make sure current patients that use the drugs regularly do not lose access to their prescriptions and have their treatment disrupted.
The company is a part of a budding, yet controversial, new industry in medicine that developed in recent years before rocketing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Telehealth companies that provide patients with quick consultations, and even potentially offer prescriptions written by certified medical professionals, have been appearing across the U.S.
CEO and Founder of Cerebral Kyle Robertson (right) was ousted from the company last week after a Department of Justice subpoena over allegations it was misusing controlled drugs like Xanax and Adderall
Cerebral’s focus is on mental health, but other companies also cover things as far-reaching as male-pattern baldness to neurological treatment. Some online clinics were even consulting Covid patients last year, leading to an uptick of ivermectin prescriptions.
In America, where many young people are uninsured or under-insured and access to a therapist and other psychological help may be hard to find due to long waitlists, these companies became popular.
The DoJ investigation threw the budding company into turmoil, though. Robertson was the face of the company before he was ousted last week as CEO. He will now be replaced by Dr Dave Mou, previous the company’s chief medical officer.
‘Cerebral intends to fully cooperate with the investigation, which we already have conveyed to the U.S. Attorney’s Office,’ the company told DailyMail.com in an emailed statement on the matter on May 9.
It also noted that: ‘at this time, no regulatory or law enforcement authority has accused Cerebral of violating any law.’
The DoJ did not reply to a DailyMail.com request for comment.
Biles’ addition to the team was announced in October. In the time since, she has posted multiple advertisements for the company to her social media accounts, and even appeared on NBC News Now to promote the brand.
It is also an expanding company, currently have job listings for ‘associate telemedicine therapist’ and ‘licensed telemedicine therapist’ in nearly every single U.S. state.
During Covid, where many brick-and-mortar doctors and therapists office were closed due to pandemic-related restrictions, use of these telehealth services hit another gear.
‘The safe medical care of our patients is our highest priority. Cerebral’s services have been especially critical during the last two years of the simultaneous COVID-19 pandemic—which rendered in-person care much more difficult to obtain—and the exploding mental health crisis and associated provider shortage that the United States has faced,’ the company told DailyMail.com.
A report from the Wall Street Journal in March found that Cerebral and one of its competitors, Done -which has not been immune to criticism either – found that nurses working for the companies felt pressured to prescribe drugs like Adderall.
Because consultations are often shorten and quick – one of the main features of the way the company operates – and follow up appointments are no guarantee, nurses are often prescribing the abusable drugs to people they have not had much time to evaluate.
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