Kurt Donsbach Convicted of Practicing
Medicine without a License (1971)
In 1970, when Kurt Donsbach operated the Nature's Way Health Food Store, in Westminster, California, undercover agents of the Fraud Division of the California Bureau of Food and Drug observed him representing to customers that vitamins, minerals, and/or herbal tea were effective against cancer, heart disease, emphysema (a chronic lung disease), and many other ailments. Most of the products he "prescribed" were packaged by Westpro Labs, a company he owned which repackaged dietary supplements and a few drugs. Charged with nine counts of illegal activity, Donsbach pleaded guilty in 1971 to one count of practicing medicine without a license and agreed to cease "nutritional consultation." He was assessed $2,750 and served two years' summary probation. Here is a case summary from the California Bureau of Food and Drug. Quackwatch has additional information about Donsbach's shady activities.
Kurt W. Donsbach
April 12, 1971
Inspectors from the Fraud Section of the Bureau of Food and Drug successfully culminated a five-month investigation April 9, when Kurt W. Donsbach of Nature's Way Health Food Store, 10072 Chapman Avenue, Garden Grove, entered a plea of guilty to practicing medicine without a license before West Orange County Municipal Court. In December of 1970, a nine-count complaint was prepared by the Orange County District Attorney's Office against Donsbach, which included practicing medicine without a license, representing certain food supplements to have an effect upon cancer, heart conditions and stomach ulcers, and false advertising of certain food supplements and various vitamins and minerals.
According to Jim Eddington, Inspector in the Bureau and the arresting officer, on several occasions Donsbach made representations to an undercover agent that her breast cancer could be controlled if she followed his advice and adhered to a strict regimen of vitamins, minerals and an herbal tea called Chaparral. On other occasions, Donsbach told one undercover agent that her emphysema and heart condition would be helped 100% by following a prescribed regimen of vitamins, minerals and herbs. On one occasion, Donsbach instructed an undercover agent to take cabbage tablets daily to effect a cure for his stomach ulcer.
Donsbach also operates WESTPRO LABS located in Garden Grove, a vitamin and mineral repacking firm which markets various products under the same name.
It was calculated that if the undercover agent had followed Donsbach's treatment to the letter, she would have been spending about $60,00 per month for an extended period of time for the vitamins, minerals and herbs recommended which were almost exclusively WESTPRO LABS products.
Donsbach represented himself as a Doctor of Chiropractic, Doctor of Naturopathy and Bachelor of Therapeutic Science. The investigation by the Bureau disclosed the fact that Donsbach is not licensed as a chiropractor in this state and that the other two credentials are not recognized by the State of California.
According to the undercover operators who went to Donsbach, business was good. On almost every occasion the operators reported that about fifteen persons were also there—waiting to see the "Doctor." The "Doctor" was receiving "patients" and treating them (via organic vitamins and minerals, etc.) for disorders ranging from spastic colons to menopause, from serious heart ailments to breast cancer. If Donsbach was receiving moneys in the range of what was reported earlier from every victim he exploited, his annual gross would be $720.00/victim/year, or almost 2 million dollars a year, based on a five-day "wok week" and seeing 10 "patients" a day. . . Not bad.
Unfortunately for "Dr." Donsbach, he has agreed to get out of the "nutritional consultation" game in California, since he pled guilty to playing doctor without a license.
The Court was not at all amused by what Donsbach was doing. He was sentenced to pay $600 plus P.O.E. to the Court, pay $2,000 restitution to the Bureau and to serve 2 years summary probation with terms that ge obey all laws.
Jim D. Eddington
Food and Drug Inspector II
This page was posted on February 6, 2006.