TikTok is enabling a telehealth company under DEA investigation for alleged overprescription of stimulants to advertise on its platform
TikTok is hosting ads from telehealth company Done, despite the startup facing previous scrutiny for misleading advertising practices, a failing Better Business Bureau (BBB) grade with abysmal customer reviews, and a Drug Enforcement Administration investigation for alleged overprescription of stimulants.
Done is a digital health company that promises simplified ADHD treatment and has placed ads on TikTok for over a year. According to a Media Matters analysis of Pathmatics data, Done spent over $4.3 million since 2022 on TikTok ads, garnering nearly half a billion impressions.
Done ads feature young creators who often mimic organically popular content by utilizing viral sounds and video formats. Done ads also misleadingly overgeneralize symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in order to reel in new customers, a tactic the company has used for over a year despite repeated criticism.
The overgeneralization of ADHD symptoms is not new to TikTok. In fact, a recent study published by the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry evaluated popular ADHD TikTok videos and found that over half of analyzed videos included misleading medical information and only 21% included “useful” information. While the videos reviewed in the study weren’t advertisements, the popularity of inaccurately oversimplifying ADHD information appears to have since been adopted by Done as a business strategy to attract new customers.
Done promises an expedited diagnosis and treatment plan for the hefty cost of nearly $200 for the first month and then an automatic $79 monthly fee, whether its customers see a physician or not. This does not include the actual cost of any medication prescribed by Done providers.
In 2022, major pharmacies like CVS and Walmart began refusing to fill controlled substance prescriptions from Done after the company was accused of improperly prescribing stimulants. Done is also not accredited by the BBB and has an “F” rating.
Done claims that its services are designed for those who have barriers to accessing mental health care “due to cost or availability.” And while Done’s mission of “accessible and affordable” psychiatric care for patients may seem philanthropic, the overwhelming majority of BBB customer complaints highlight the company’s reportedly unreliable prescriptions, unresponsive providers, and unexpected fees.
Done isn’t filling a coverage gap, it’s widening it. And TikTok is helping.
By allowing Done to advertise on its platform, TikTok is once again proving that its loyalty lies with advertising revenue, not user safety.