On April 15, 2011, Kurt Walter Donsbach, 75, of San Diego, was sentenced to a year in county jail and probation of ten years after pleading guilty in December to 13 felony charges including unlawfully selling fake drugs to cancer patients, practicing medicine without a license and attempted grand theft.

 Coretta Scott King and MLK

Coretta Scott King, pictured with Martin Luther King, Jr.,
was one of Donsbach’s patients.
Picture by JumpFightGo via Flickr.

 

On April 15, 2011, Kurt Walter Donsbach, 75, of San Diego, was sentenced to a year in county jail and probation of ten years after pleading guilty in December to 13 felony charges including unlawfully selling fake drugs to cancer patients, practicing medicine without a license and attempted grand theft.

Donsbach, of Bonita, CA, identified himself as a chiropractor and naturopathic doctor online and in literature, frequently appearing on radio programs offering patients “natural” remedies to serious health conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and late stage cancer but instead sold them counterfeit medications made of dangerous and illegal ingredients.

Donsbach gave false hope to the terminally ill, claiming terminal cancer patients would be alive in five years, while giving them supposedly natural supplements which in fact contained Nimesulide, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug not approved for treatment in the U.S., among others, reports Sign On San Diego.

Deputy District Attorney Gina Darvas said Donsbach was a “con man” who purposely sold patients a $3 illegal anti-inflammatory misrepresenting it as a $300 per dose cancer cure. “He didn’t do this casually,” she said, “This is the result of a calculated long-term sophisticated plan.”

In addition to illegally treating patients with counterfeit drugs in the U.S., Donsbach ran a clinic in Rosarita, Mexico, eventually shut down by the Mexican government, but not before “treating” terminally ill patients, including Coretta Scott King.

Former patients and family members of deceased former patients made statements at the sentencing.

One patient, Anita Soos, suffers from severe osteoporosis as a result of taking Donsbach’s prescribed supplements for years without knowing their true identity. Donsbach had told her she was taking a “neuropeptide,” which she ingested faithfully for six years, via injection to “reprogram the body’s T-cells.” However, after suffering terrible side effects including severe bone density loss, she went to another doctor who sent her medication to FDA laboratories for testing and found that she had been intravenously injecting Betamethasone 21-acetate, a glucocorticoid steroid drug.

Donsbach was caught by an FBI agent who went undercover as a pancreatic cancer patient. Donsbach prescribed drugs without examining the agent in person, using telephone and email only for diagnosis and then selling the agent a box of medications labeled as dietary supplements, but instead containing a drug illegal in the US, Europe and Asia because it caused high rates of liver failure and death.

This is Donsbach’s second conviction involving medication fraud. He pleaded guilty in 1996 in federal court to smuggling unapproved drugs into the U.S. from Mexico, selling the drugs and evading income taxes on the money earned, reports Sign On San Diego.

Despite Donsbach’s recidivism, San Diego Superior Court Judge Charles Rogers had indicated at the time of the conviction that he would consider Donsbach’s age and poor health in sentencing. However, Rogers disagreed with the defense’s claim that Donsbach’s health problems were too severe for prison. The phony doctor was taken into custody immediately after sentencing.