CVS pharmacies will no longer fill prescriptions for controlled substances like Adderall from telehealth companies Cerebral and Done Health, The Wall Street Journal reported. It’s the latest blow to Cerebral, which is facing investigations from the US Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Cerebral said last week that it was going to stop prescribing controlled substances to new customers, and would transition existing customers off of the service by the fall. The company told The Wall Street Journal that it was “doing everything possible to ensure these patients get access to medications that their healthcare providers have determined they need.”
Done Health is an ADHD-specific telehealth platform, and like Cerebral, was criticized by nurses who said they were pressured to give out drugs based on only short visits with customers. Some individual CVS locations had already stopped filing prescriptions from some Done clinicians and had questioned them about the amount of ADHD medications they were prescribing. Walmart had also blocked prescriptions from some Done clinicians. Truepill, Cerebral’s reported preferred pharmacy, said this month that it would no longer fill Adderall and other controlled substance prescriptions from the company.
Normally, federal rules require that patients meet with a doctor in-person before they can be prescribed a controlled substance like Adderall. But those rules were relaxed when the United States went under a public health emergency in 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and physicians were able to prescribe the drugs with only a video visit. Companies like Cerebral and Done took advantage of that gap to start offering prescriptions to customers.
The public health emergency is still in place, so doctors can technically still prescribe controlled substances over telehealth. But most major telemedicine companies, like Teladoc and MDLive, told The Wall Street Journal that they don’t prescribe the drugs. And with pharmacies blocking prescriptions from the ones that do, there are fewer avenues for that easier access to those medications.