CEO of telehealth company Done charged in online Adderall distribution scheme

CEO of telehealth company Done charged in online Adderall distribution scheme

The founder and CEO of a California-based telehealth company was arrested and charged Thursday with involvement in a scheme to distribute Adderall over the internet and commit health care fraud.

The Justice Department alleged in a news release that Ruthia He, the founder and CEO of Done Global Inc., conspired with the company’s clinical president, David Brody, and others to provide easy access to stimulants, including Adderall, a drug used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, in exchange for payment of a monthly subscription fee.

He was arrested in Los Angeles and Brody was arrested in San Rafael, California, on charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and distribution of controlled substances. If they are convicted, they each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. It’s not clear whether He and Brody have obtained attorneys who can speak on their behalf.

He and Brody ran the scheme to “unlawfully enrich themselves” and made over $100 million by increasing monthly subscription revenue, which therefore increased the value of the company, federal officials said.

Ten milligram tablets Adderall
Jb Reed / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri accused He and Brody of exploiting telemedicine “and spending millions on deceptive advertisements on social media.”

“They generated over $100 million in revenue by arranging for the prescription of over 40 million pills,” Argentieri said in a statement. “These charges are the Justice Department’s first criminal drug distribution prosecutions related to telemedicine prescribing through a digital health company. As these charges make clear, corporate executives who put profit over the health and safety of patients — including by using technological innovation — will be held to account.”

The pair obtained subscribers by spending millions on what officials called deceptive social media advertisements, targeting drug seekers and intentionally structuring the Done platform to facilitate access to Adderall and other stimulants, the news release alleges.

It says part of the scheme included limiting the information available to Done prescribers and instructing them to prescribe Adderall and other stimulants even if Done members did not qualify.

He tried to maximize profits by adding an “auto-refill” function that allowed subscribers to elect to have messages requesting refills of the drug every month, the Justice Department said.

He and Brody are also accused of conspiring to defraud pharmacies, as well as Medicare and Medicaid.

The Justice Department alleged that He and Brody continued with the scheme even after they were made aware that Done members had overdosed and died and that material was posted online about how people could obtain Adderall and other stimulants from the company.

Done, which says it makes high-quality psychiatric chronic care more affordable and accessible, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday. He and Brody could not be reached at phone numbers listed for them.

In 2022, The Wall Street Journal reported that some clinicians said they felt that the company was pressuring them to prescribe stimulants. The Drug Enforcement Administration opened an investigation that year looking at Done’s practice of prescribing controlled substances, the Journal reported.

The DEA lists Adderall as a schedule II drug with a high potential for abuse. It is in the same category as Vicodin, OxyContin and methamphetamine.

Minyvonne Burke

Minyvonne Burke is a senior breaking news reporter for NBC News.

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *