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Mail-Order Firm Accused of False Cure Claims

Times Staff Writer

Federal authorities sought a court order Tuesday to seize the mail orders of a Huntington Beach firm that allegedly sells hydrogen peroxide under the fraudulent claim that the substance cures cancer and arthritis.

The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, alleges that Kurt W. Donsbach of Chula Vista, president of DRK Supplements, “promotes the use of hydrogen peroxide as a treatment of cancer and arthritis through books, newsletters, magazine articles and lectures given at health fairs.”

Donsbach also operates a clinic near Tijuana where he gives patients intravenous injections of diluted hydrogen peroxide, claiming that the solution is effective in treating a wide range of illnesses.

$15 a Bottle

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Donsbach’s Huntington Beach company charges $15 for a 16-ounce bottle of 35% “food grade” hydrogen peroxide in the mail order scheme, according to Assistant U.S. Atty. Brian Kipnis.

“He advocates bathing in it, drinking it, douching with it, using it as an enema--in every conceivable fashion, really--to solve significant medical problems,” Kipnis said.

“Based on the evidence we have, there is no credible medical study that shows that hydrogen peroxide is a cure or a treatment in any way for cancer or arthritis.”

A news release by the U.S. attorney’s office argued that immediate action to “stop the flow of money to the company” is necessary because “persons who use hydrogen peroxide may be allowing their arthritis and cancer to worsen by delaying proper treatment.”

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Neither Donsbach nor his attorney were available for comment. The temporary restraining order, sought from U.S. District Judge Pamela A. Rymer, would allow postal authorities to seize DRK Supplements’ mail, pending an administrative hearing.

Donsbach’s Mexico clinic is one of about a dozen similar facilities run by American operators who promote various nostrums at so-called alternative health fairs, talk shows, health magazines and health food stores.

The operators’ usual response to an action such as the request for a mail seizure order is that federal authorities and the American medical establishment are conspiring to prevent a cure for cancer and other diseases.

Donsbach, who has long been a figure of interest to state food and drug officials, has been a chiropractor and a vitamin peddler, and he once operated a mail order nutrition school.

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In 1971, Donsbach pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of practicing medicine without a license in California after assuring an undercover agent who feigned having breast cancer that the disease “could be controlled if she followed his advice and stuck to a strict regimen of vitamins, minerals and chaparral tea,” according to a summary of the case by state food and drug officials.


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