A new psychedelic (r)evolution

Several digital health startups have sprouted recently to offer virtual, psychedelic-assisted mental healthcare. In 2022, psychedelic mental health startup raises (Fluence, Nue Life Health, Enthea, and Innerwell, to name a few) only represented a small portion of the total $2.1B raised for digital mental health solutions. But 2023 may prove to be a pivotal year with Journey Clinical’s $9M raise and plan coverage announcements already under our belts. Many of these solutions deliver ketamine-assisted therapy along with traditional psychotherapy (virtual, in-person, and hybrid) to treat patients with PTSD, anxiety, and/or depression. There’s growing evidence on the efficacy of clinical interventions—and growing confidence among investors that these solutions can improve mental health outcomes. But it’s a little too soon to call this a surefire approach. In addition to navigating operational, business model, and reimbursement obstacles, digital health companies providing psychedelic interventions face a lagging regulatory landscape. Startups offering tele-prescription of ketamine, in particular, are currently utilizing a prescribing model that's dependent on legislation set to shortly expire, though professional organizations are already lobbying the DEA for a permanent provision. The staying power of these solutions will depend on how broadly policymakers prioritize change.


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