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Justice Department investigates mental health startup Cerebral for misleading ads

By Ashley Williams
Justice Department investigates mental health startup Cerebral for misleading ads
Cerebral, currently under investigation for possible Controlled Substances Act violations, offers prescriptions for some of the conditions it offers therapy and counseling services for, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and insomnia. File Photo by Sponge/Wikimedia Commons

May 9 (UPI) -- The United States Department of Justice launched an investigation into Cerebral, a mental health startup facing scrutiny over its advertising and prescribing practices for controlled substances including Xanax and Adderall.

The DOJ is looking into Cerebral for "possible violations" of the Controlled Substances Act, which regulates distribution of medications that come with a high risk of addiction.

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The online, San-Francisco-based company offers prescriptions for some of the conditions it offers therapy and counseling services for, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and insomnia.

In recent months, medical professionals and social media platforms like TikTok and Meta have accused Cerebral of misleading advertisements linking ADHD to obesity.

Meta and TikTok have subsequently pulled such ads from its platforms.

After the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York issued a grand jury subpoena on Wednesday requesting documents, Cerebral halted issuing controlled substance prescriptions the same day.

The company's Adderall prescriptions could no longer be filled by certain pharmacies including CVS and Walmart as of April, and the pharmacy described by Cerebral as its preferred choice -- Truepill -- announced on April 29 it would no longer mail Schedule 2 controlled substances like Adderall to their customers.

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"To be clear, at this time, no regulatory or law enforcement authority has accused Cerebral of violating any law," Cerebral said in a statement to Insider.

"Cerebral intends to fully cooperate with the investigation, which we already have conveyed to the U.S. Attorney's Office," the statement to Insider read.

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