Drugs backed by Brett Favre ‘exaggerated effectiveness and lied about NFL links’ 

Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre was involved in an alleged drug scam involving a concussion cure, according to reports.

The NFL legend was the face of two firm said to have fraudulently raked in $2million in public money after exaggerating the effectiveness of a nasal spray and cream.

Prevacus and PreVPro were billed as being able to prevent long-term brain damage caused by repeated knocks to the head— a perpetual concern for NFL athletes.

Mr Favre partnered with Dr Jacob VanLandingham, a neuroscientist from Tallahassee, Florida, to develop the medicines.

Dr VanLandingham allegedly told investors they’d partnered with NFL teams, leading NFL and NCAA doctors, and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), ESPN reports.

He is also alleged to have claimed he was seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for their nasal spray. 

Mr Favre and Dr VanLandingham appeared on TV, radio and other media to promote the drug as a way to ‘save the future’ of many athletes.

Yet there have been no clinical trials testing their effectiveness in people — and the sports leagues deny any association with the drugs.

The pair are alleged to have raised $2million in public funds as part of a massive $77million welfare fraud scheme in Favre’s home state of Mississippi. 

NFL legend Brett Favre (pictured) was involved with Prevacus and PresonMD, which claimed to have drugs that could limit brain damage suffered by a person after a concussion

Favre suffered a career ending concussion during a 2010 game against the Chicago Bears. He then became an advocate for reducing hits to the head and protecting the brains of athletes

 Favre suffered a career ending concussion during a 2010 game against the Chicago Bears. He then became an advocate for reducing hits to the head and protecting the brains of athletes

The drug claimed to reduce inflammation on the brain after a person suffers a blow to the head. No human trials have yet tested its effectiveness

Timeline of contentious concussion drugs

December 20, 2010: Brett Favre suffers a career ending injury during an NFL game against the Chicago Bears. After suffering long-term memory and cognitive issues as a result of his playing career, he becomes an advocate for protecting the brain health of athletes.

2012: The firm Prevacus is founded by Dr Jacob VanLandingham to research and develop drugs that can prevent brain damage.

2018: Favre partners with VanLandingHam. The NFL Hall of Famer becomes on the largest shareholders and member of the advisory board.

2018: During a series of media appearances the pair talk up the drugs as breakthroughs in preventing brain damage. Favre even says the drug would ‘save the future’.

2019: In documents obtained years later by ESPN, VanLandingHam was telling potential investors that the firm had backing from the NFL and NCAA. Both denied this association.

2019: Favre hosts a meeting at his home seeking investors for the firm. ESPN reports that multiple people present would later plead guilty in the Mississippi welfare fraud scandal that was revealed in 2022.

2019: Firms backed by Favre allegedly received $2.1million in Mississippi welfare funds

2020: VanLandingHam says on a podcast that his company is working alongside the NFLPA. The association denies the connection and VanLandingHam now faces a lawsuit from former NFL wide receiver Byron Williams

2021: VanLandingHam sells Prevacus to the Las Vegas-based company Odyssey health



Mr Favre famously suffered a devastating brain injury in his final NFL game, where he featured as the Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback against the Chicago Bears in 2010.

After the career ending injury, the Hall of Famer became an advocate for preventing brain injury in sports and findings ways to limit the long term affects of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Dr VanLandingham told a local Mississippi news station that the drug worked by solving an ‘energy crisis’ in the brain that occurs after a concussion.

He said that Prevacus could help reduce secondary damage to the brain that occurs after injury. 

Dr VanLandingham and Mr Favre pitched their drugs as a way to help other avoid the same fate after they became partners in 2018.

The involved firms are Prevacus, which made the nasal spray, and PresolMD, which developed the cream PreVPro. 

The drugs are ‘specifically aimed at controlling the effects of an acute concussion in that first two weeks,’ Dr VanLandingham said in 2018.

‘As a result of that, it will prevent CTE from ever happening, so we can control the acute pathological cascade.’ 

Prevacus comes in a small nasal inhaler that a person could use after suffering a blow to the head.

It was to be used regularly for 14-days after injury to limit inflammation to the brain caused by a concussion and limit long term damage.

The drug uses gene amplification to reduce swelling and oxidative stress on the brain after a significant injury. 

Two weeks’ worth of treatment was to sell for around $300 before any insurance adjustments.

The doctor also appeared alongside Mr Favre on NBC’s Megyn Kelly Today to promote the drug in 2018.

They told the program they believe their nasal spray would be valuable for soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with athletes at home and around the world.

When asked, they told Ms Kelly the drug was not yet approved by the FDA but was in the midst of clinical trials.

The drug has never gone through human clinical trials, though, and there is no data to suggest it works. 

The pair needed funding to continue research and development of the drug, and pitched their product to investors.

These pitches falsely claimed the drug was connected to Dr Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, and Jeff Miller, the league’s executive vice president for health and safety innovation, according to 2019 documents.

Mr Favre would then pitch his drugs to investors at a 2019 meeting at his home, ESPN reports. 

Three people present at the meeting later pleaded guilty for their involvement in the Mississippi welfare fraud case.

Within the next year, the pair of companies led by the pair would receive $2.1million in Mississippi state funds.

Brett Favre (pictured) said that the drugs could 'save the future' by preventing brain damage for youth athletes

Brett Favre (pictured) said that the drugs could ‘save the future’ by preventing brain damage for youth athletes

In July 2019, the pair started the process of bringing the cream to the market as it would not require the same FDA approval process that the spray would.

A pre-order for $39.99 per tube was launched on the firm’s now-defunct website. 

Dr VanLandingham would later say he expected to drug to hit the market in February 2020, though it never launched. 

The NFL denied any association with the Mr Favre’s firm when approached by ESPN. 

Prevacus also claimed links to Dr Brian Hainline, the NCAA’s chief medical officer. 

But the NCAA has denied any association.

Dr VanLandingham claimed that he had contacted the doctors but he did not intend to say his firm had backing from the NFL or NCAA, reports ESPN.

Marketing documents also claim the firm had connections to six NFL teams. The neurologist told ESPN he could not recall which teams were being referenced. 


Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative brain disease that is caused by repeated hits to the head. 

Over time, these hard impacts result in confusion, depression and eventually dementia.

There has been several retired football players who have come forward with brain diseases.

They are attributing their condition to playing football and the hits they took. 

More than 1,800 former athletes and military veterans have pledged to donate their brains to the Concussion Legacy Foundation for CTE research.

CTE was usually associated with boxing before former NFL players began revealing their conditions. 

Several notable players who have committed suicide were posthumously diagnosed with the disease, such as Junior Seau and Aaron Hernandez.  

In a 2020 podcast promoting the drug, Dr VanLandingham said that the firm had partnered with the NFLPA for clinical trials. The NFLPA denied this association. 

He said that the link to the NFLPA came from an established relationship with former NFL wide receiver Byron Williams.

Mr Williams now runs youth football camps in Texas, where PreVPro was offered to  youth football players, though not on an FDA approved basis.

While the former player is a member of the NFLPA’s Former Player Advisory Board, he told ESPN his work with PreVPro was not related to the association.

He has since filed a lawsuit against PresolMD.

During a 2020 radio interview, Mr Favre said that the nasal spray could even prevent CTE, adding ‘we’re here to save the future.’

The pair also said during the interview they expected Prevacus to hit the market in the next two years. Still, no human trials had been performed.

Dr Steven DeKosky, a brain injury researchers from the University of Florida told ESPN there is no evidence the drug has any use.

Dr VanLandingham would sell Prevacus to the Las Vegas-based Odyssey Health in 2021.

Odyssey conducted Phase 1 trials for the drug in Australia, and announced in September that the nasal spray proved safe in 40 patients.

Future trials will test the drug’s effectiveness of concussed patients. The firm told ESPN it would cost $12million to undergo Phase 2 research. 

To date, PreVPro has only been trialed on dogs.

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