Health care

CEO of telehealth company Done charged in online Adderall distribution scheme

Ruthia He allegedly conspired with the company’s clinical president, David Brody, and others to provide easy access to stimulants, the Justice Department said.

Adderall pills.
JB Reed/Bloomberg via Getty Images (File)

The founder and CEO of a California-based telehealth company was arrested and charged on Thursday for her involvement in an alleged scheme to distribute Adderall over the internet and commit healthcare fraud.

Ruthia He, the founder and CEO of Done Global Inc., allegedly conspired with the company's clinical president, David Brody, and others to provide easy access to stimulants, including Adderall, a drug used to treat ADHD, in exchange for payment of a monthly subscription fee, the Justice Department said in a news release.

He was arrested in Los Angeles and Brody in San Rafael, California on charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and distribution of controlled substances. If convicted, they each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. It’s not clear if 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.

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 allegedly 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.

Part of the scheme allegedly included limiting the information available to Done prescribers and instructing them to prescribe Adderall and other stimulants even if the Done member did not qualify.

He tried to maximize profits by adding an "auto-refill" function that allowed subscribers to elect to have a message requesting a refill 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 said that He and Brody allegedly continued with the scheme even after being made aware that Done members had overdosed and died and that there was material 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 on 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 into prescribing stimulants. That same year, the Drug Enforcement Administration opened an investigation looking at Done's practice of prescribing controlled substances, the WSJ reported.

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

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