CVS Will No Longer Fill Controlled Substances Prescriptions from Certain Telehealth Companies

CVS Will No Longer Fill Controlled Substances Prescriptions from Certain Telehealth Companies
CVS pharmacies will no longer fill controlled substance prescriptions ordered by health care workers that work for the two telehealth companies. (Photo: Mario Tama, Getty Images)

Digital mental health providers are now facing another challenge: CVS says it will no longer fill prescriptions from telehealth companies Cerebral and Done Health.

Mental health care was on the cusp of something great: providing those in need (especially in the thick of the pandemic) with help via apps and digital services specializing in therapy and psychiatry. Cerebral — a telehealth tech startup mainly treating anxiety, depression, and insomnia — is (or was) at the forefront of this movement as one of the more recognisable names in the digital mental health space. Done Health is another, specializing in the treatment of ADHD. However, these companies are hitting a snag in their quest to help their patients. CVS confirmed to Gizmodo that the pharmacy chain will no longer fill prescriptions of controlled substances, like Adderall for instance, ordered by providers that work for Cerebral and Done Health.

“We are committed to making mental health services as accessible and convenient as possible,” CVS said to us in an email. CVS explained that they conducted a review of certain telehealth companies, and indicated there’s concerns about the prescription practices at both Cerebral and Done Health. “As a result of our being unable to resolve concerns we have with Cerebral and Done Health, effective May 26, 2022 CVS Pharmacy will no longer accept prescriptions for controlled substances issued through these companies.” This decision surprised Cerebral, who said they weren’t aware of this decision prior to yesterday.

“We learned on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 24 that CVS will no longer fill Cerebral’s controlled substance prescriptions, effective Thursday, May 26,” Cerebral told Gizmodo in an email. Despite CVS’s surprise announcement, Cerebral claims that they will still work to help any of their patients effected by CVS’s decision. “In light of CVS’s decision, Cerebral is doing everything possible to ensure these patients get access to medications that their health care providers have determined they need.”

This isn’t the first swipe at Cerebral’s prescription practices. The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating whether the startup violated a controlled-substances law, according to a report from Insider.

Even before CVS took action this week, other pharmacies had already stopped or delayed filling prescriptions from Cerebral and Done over concerns their clinicians were giving out too many prescriptions for stimulants. The Wall Street Journal also reported that Walmart Inc. began blocking some prescriptions affiliated with Done earlier this year as well.

Done Health did not immediately respond to our request for comment.