Cerebral CEO Dr. David Mou is not focused on a scathing letter sent by Kyle Robertson, his former colleague and the company’s ousted founder, to the mental health startup company’s executive team and investors.
“It’s a distraction. I’m looking forward,” Mou said in an interview at the HLTH conference in Las Vegas. “I’m here to take care of our patients.”
Robertson, the co-founder and ousted CEO of Cerebral, sent a letter last week demanding access to the company’s records in advance of a potential lawsuit. In the letter, Robertson accused the company’s investors of pushing him to sell controlled medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and then using him as a scapegoat when there was public blowback.
The contents of the letter were first reported by Business Insider.
A Cerebral spokesperson said the claims laid out by Robertson were untrue and the company intends to defend itself vigorously if and when a complaint is filed.
Robertson left the company in May after mounting criticism of the startup's prescribing practices for ADHD, including three lawsuits by former employees and a federal investigation. Since Robertson’s departure, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission reportedly sent a letter to Cerebral requesting information on whether the company has continued to charge patients even after they’ve attempted to cancel their subscription.
Amid the controversy, the company stopped prescribing Adderall and Ritalin in May. At the time Mou said he was saddened by the decision as he considered them legitimate first line treatment for patients with ADHD. Cerebral still prescribes suboxone, a controlled substance for opioid use disorder, Mou said.
“To me, it’s not about controlled substances or non-controlled substances,” Mou said. “For [opioid use disorder] patients, we have a one-hour intake appointment and weekly follow ups. The programs are designed to be evidence-based and conservative.”
Cerebral has gone through two rounds of layoffs since Mou took over the job, most recently in late October when it cut 20% of its staff. Mou pointed the finger at tough macroeconomic conditions.
“It’s affecting companies everywhere, beyond healthcare and beyond startups,” Mou said. “Sometimes we need to make difficult decisions to ensure we have a sustainable business model going forward so we can take care of the patients we want to treat.”