Cerebral, a direct-to-consumer mental telehealth company, is facing a lawsuit from a former executive who alleges the company fired him for speaking out against its unlawful business practices.
Matthew Truebe, former vice president of product and engineering at Cerebral, alleges that the company put profits before patient safety. He alleges the company planned to increase customer retention by prescribing stimulants for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to 100% of its patients.
The lawsuit also alleges that Cerebral had 2,000 duplicate shipping addresses, which suggested patients were setting up multiple accounts to obtain additional medication from prescribers. He alleges that when he brought this up to Cerebral CEO Kyle Robertson and other executives, it was ignored and called a low-priority problem.
Truebe also alleged “employees and former employees could gain unauthorized access to confidential patient medical information” at Cerebral, another problem which he alleges went ignored. When he spoke out against these practices, Truebe alleges the company ordered him to sign an amended employee agreement that reduced his stock options and didn’t allow him to speak out about his allegations. He alleges he was later written a poor review and fired for not signing the agreement, one day before his stock options had vested.
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The lawsuit comes at a time when Cerebral, Done Health and other digital mental health companies are facing scrutiny for their prescription practices. A recent report in The Wall Street Journal alleges that Done and Cerebral’s prescription habits caught the eye of national pharmacy chains, including CVS Health, Walmart and Walgreens, which reportedly have blocked and delayed some prescriptions from the two companies.
In response to the lawsuit, a Cerebral spokesperson said, "We do not comment on the specifics of pending litigation but we believe that the claims alleged in the complaint are without merit. We intend to vigorously defend this matter."
Truebe filed the lawsuit in the Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco.
Cerebral received a $300 million funding round in December and is valued at nearly $5 billion.