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Online mental health startup Cerebral being investigated by DOJ

The online startup aiming to make it easier to access mental health care, Cerebral, received a subpoena this week from the United States Department of Justice as part of an investigation seeking to determine whether Cerebral violated the Controlled Substances Act.

The US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York issued a grand jury subpoena to Cerebral on Wednesday last week seeking documents from the company. The day the subpoena was received, Cerebral announced it was pausing the prescription of mental health drugs like Adderall and Xanax.

The mental health company has been under fire lately for some misleading ads placed on TikTok and other social media platforms. One ad served to TikTok users attempted to link obesity to ADHD, and was removed from the platform for being misleading. 

National pharmacies CVS and Walgreens stopped filling prescriptions ordered by Cerebral and its online mental healthcare counterparts last month, and online pharmacy Truepill ceased filling prescriptions for controlled substances last week.

Cerebral is reportedly also under investigation by the Drug Enforcement Agency, though it is not yet clear if the Department of Justice investigation is linked.

Cerebral offers online access to therapy for mental health conditions like ADHD, anxiety, depression and more. It also prescribes medication to patients, though some nurses who have worked for Cerebral said they felt pressured to prescribe the controlled substances to patients after just one short video call.

“To be clear, at this time, no regulatory or law enforcement authority has accused Cerebral of violating any law. Cerebral intends to fully cooperate with the investigation, which we already have conveyed to the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” Cerebral said in a statement to Insider, who broke the story. 

ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: THE VERGE

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Laura is a freelance writer out of Maryland and a mom of three. Her background is in political science and international relations, and she has been doing political writing and editing for 17 years. Laura has also written parenting pieces for the Today Show and is currently working on writing a collection of remarkable true stories about normal people. She writes for FBA because unbiased news is vital to unity, and readers deserve the facts free of opinion.

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