CDC: Adderall shortage may worsen after health execs charged with fraud

FILE - Ten milligram tablets of the hyperactivity drug, Adderall (Photo by Jb Reed/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The supply of ADHD medications may be further disrupted after mental health company executives were arrested this week on allegations of improperly prescribing addictive stimulants like Adderall during the pandemic. 

The Justice Department announced Thursday that Ruthia He, the founder and CEO of Done Global Inc., and clinical president David Brody were arrested in California. They’re accused of conspiring to provide easy access to Adderall and other stimulant drugs, which are largely used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD, in exchange for a monthly subscription fee. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that the indictments could exacerbate an ongoing shortage of the drugs for those who medically need them. 

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Done Global allegedly helped prescribe more than 40 million pills of Adderall and other stimulants, and earned over $100 million in revenue, prosecutors said. 

According to the Justice Department, Done Global instructed providers to prescribe stimulant drugs even if the patient did not qualify, disincentivizing follow-up appointments by only paying based on the number of patients who received prescriptions, and requiring intake appointments to be under 30 minutes.

The CDC says the executives’ arrests and subsequent supply disruptions could impact between 30,000 and 50,000 adult patients in the U.S. 

Prosecutors say He and Brody continued to distribute drugs in this manner after knowing of social media posts that Done Global patients had overdosed and died. The two are also accused of lying to pharmacies and health insurance providers to ensure prescriptions were filled and paid for, with Medicare, Medicaid and insurance companies paying an excess of about $14 million, according to the Justice Department. 

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"Given the national drug overdose crisis and threats associated with the illegal drug market, individuals struggling to access prescription stimulant medications are urged to avoid using medication obtained from anyone other than a licensed clinician and licensed pharmacy," the CDC warned. 

"In addition to concerns about using illegally acquired stimulant medications, untreated ADHD is associated with adverse outcomes, including social and emotional impairment, increased risk of drug or alcohol use disorder, unintentional injuries, such as motor vehicle crashes, and suicide," the CDC alert continued. "Health officials and healthcare providers may need to assist affected patients seeking treatment for ADHD."

If convicted, the executives face up to 20 years in federal prison. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.