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New charges as feds expand probe into Adderall-peddling SF startup

Yellow capsules have spilled onto a dark surface from a white, open pill bottle, which has its cap next to it. Some capsules are scattered around.
Seven people linked to San Francisco digital health company Done Global face federal charges for illegally peddling stimulants used to treat ADHD. | Source: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Federal authorities have charged several more people linked to a San Francisco telehealth startup as part of an expanding crackdown on the illegal distribution of Adderall and other stimulants meant to treat people with attention-deficit disorders.

The charges, announced Thursday by the U.S. Department of Justice, come two weeks after Done Global’s founder and CEO, Ruthia He, and highest-ranking doctor, David Brody, were arrested on counts of conspiracy, fraud and obstruction.

The latest indictments name Done Global executive Riley Levy, 30, doctor Christopher Luccese, 58, and nurse practitioners Yina Cruz, 37, Katrina Pratcher, 70, and Erin Kim, 54.

Authorities say the defendants capitalized on telehealth regulations that loosened during the Covid-19 pandemic by peddling powerful stimulants to patients with no medical need for them.

Federal prosecutors describe Kim as “one of the most prolific prescribers” working for Done Health. According to the charging documents unveiled this week, the nurse from Orlando, Florida, allegedly fabricated patient files and signed prescriptions for Adderall and other stimulants for patients who didn’t meet the criteria for ADHD.

In all, prosecutors say Kim pocketed $800,000 from Done Global for prescribing 1.5 million pills—many of them through the company’s auto-refill policy that allowed her to issue the medication without having to interact with patients beyond an initial encounter.

“This allegedly resulted in the nurse practitioner prescribing Adderall and other stimulants to individuals suffering from drug addiction and continuing to issue Adderall prescriptions for months after the overdose deaths of patients,” prosecutors said in a statement Thursday.

Despite the ongoing investigation and widely publicized prosecution, Done Global continued to promote its services on Google and TikTok until the Wall Street Journal inquired about the ads this week. 

A spokesperson for Done Global told The Standard the company denies wrongdoing.

“Done Global strongly disagrees with the criminal charges filed last week against our founder, Ruthia He, and Dr. David Brody, which are based on events that principally occurred between February 2020 and January 2023,” reads a statement posted on the company’s website. “Since our founding, Done Global has worked to make mental health care accessible for tens of thousands of Americans trapped in a spiraling national crisis.”

The company said it will stay up and running while the court case continues so its patients don’t lose access to mental health care.

“At the same time, we will continue to support our clinicians as they exercise independent clinical judgment, practice evidence-based medicine, and provide best-in-class health care,” the statement said.

In the indictment filed against Done Global’s He and Brody on June 13, federal prosecutors say the pair charged customers a monthly subscription fee in exchange for access to Adderall, Vyvanse and Ritalin, among other stimulants. Prosecutors say the scheme allowed Done Global to illegally distribute 40 million pills amid a nationwide shortage.

To pull it off, prosecutors say He and Brody provided limited information about patients to prescribers, instructed them to issue stimulants even if members didn’t qualify, and forced clinical intakes with patients to last no longer than 30 minutes.

In some cases, prosecutors claim doctors and nurses granted prescriptions without any video or phone consultations and collected a tidy profit based on how much medication they dispensed.

The investigation into Done Global is part of a broader crackdown on healthcare fraud that has resulted in criminal charges against 193 people, including 76 doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, federal prosecutors said. Those nearly 200 defendants are accused of participating in fraud schemes worth a combined $2.75 billion in false claims and $1.6 billion in actual losses. 

Federal authorities say they seized over $231 million in cash, luxury cars, gold and other assets as part of the probes, which spanned multiple states.

“It does not matter if you are a trafficker in a drug cartel or a corporate executive or medical professional employed by a health care company, if you profit from the unlawful distribution of controlled substances, you will be held accountable,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a press release. “The Justice Department will bring to justice criminals who defraud Americans, steal from taxpayer-funded programs, and put people in danger for the sake of profits.”

In its statement, Done Global said it agrees with those aims.

“Done [Global] is fully aligned with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Justice on eliminating drug abuse in America,” the company said. “We are committed to operating a platform that sets the highest standard for psychiatric care and believe that our hybrid approach allows us to achieve the highest clinical quality and outcomes for our patients.”

If convicted of the charges, the defendants could each face anywhere from a few years to multiple decades in prison.

Jennifer Wadsworth can be reached at