Kurt Donsbach

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Kurt Walter Donsbach (born December 1, 1935[1]) is an unlicensed chiropractor[2] and a controversial alternative medicine figure who has twice been convicted of practicing medicine without a license. He has faced charges of misbranding drugs for sale, grand theft, unlawfully dispensing drugs as a cure for cancer, and falsely representing a cure for cancer.[1][3]


Donsbach was the founder of Hospital Santa Monica in Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico. Following the death of Coretta Scott King while under treatment at the clinic in January 2006, the facility was shut down by Mexican health officials.[4]

In 1971 Donsbach was convicted of practicing medicine without a license in California after undercover agents observed him prescribing unproven remedies to patients while claiming to be a medical doctor. Many of the remedies were only available from Westpro Labs, a company operated by Donsbach. He pleaded guilty and received a fine and two years' summary probation.[5]

In 1983, Donsbach's International Academy of Nutritional Consultants gained brief notoriety from the Washington Post when caught issuing nutrition counseling credentials to a tabby cat whose assistants had submitted incomplete paperwork.[6]

On April 9, 2009, Donsbach was arrested during his Internet radio health show and charged with 11 felony counts, including dispensing unapproved drugs.[7] Prosecutors also charged Donsbach with offering neuropeptides to his patients. These drugs contained nimesulide, which have been banned in Europe because they cause high rates of liver failure and have resulted in some deaths.[8] In January 2010, a San Diego judge ruled there was enough evidence for the case against Donsbach to proceed to trial. Donsbach faced up to 12 years and eight months if convicted.[9] The case ended with a plea deal with Donsbach facing up to a year in jail, followed by probation.[10]

On December 13, 2010, Donsbach pleaded guilty to 13 additional felony charges, including practicing medicine without a license and selling misbranded drugs.[10]

Donsbach's activities have repeatedly been criticized by Dr. Stephen Barrett of Quackwatch.[11][12]

Donsbach's now defunct Donsbach University in Huntington Beach, California was also widely recognized in academic circles as a prolific producer of false diplomas in the health and nutrition field.[13]


  1. ^ a b Barrett, Stephen (December 17, 2010). "Kurt Donsbach Convicted Again". Casewatch. Retrieved June 7, 2016.
  2. ^ "Dr. Donsbach". Hospital Santa Monica. Archived from the original on September 2, 2006. Retrieved June 7, 2016.
  3. ^ Collins, Eric (April 11, 2009). "District Attorney Says Bonita Man Is A Bogus Doctor". San Diego 6 News. Archived from the original on April 11, 2009.
  4. ^ McKinley, James C., Jr. (2006-02-06). "Mexico Closes Alternative Care Clinic Where Mrs. King Died". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-05-12.
  5. ^ Stephen Barrett, MD. "Kurt Donsbach Convicted of Practicing Medicine without a License (1971)". Casewatch. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
  6. ^ Engel, Margaret (1983-07-17). "The Confusing Pursuit Of Good Nutrition". The Washington Post. Fred Ryan. Retrieved 2018-12-04. admitted the Herbert family cat as a "professional" member, said such members "must have adequate nutrition background . . . either a degree in the healing arts or a graduate of Donsbach University.
  7. ^ Martinez A. Phony doctor accused of preying on vulnerable patients. San Diego Union Tribune April 10, 2009
  8. ^ Man Charged With Practicing Medicine Without License, April 13, 2009 San Diego 10 News.com
  9. ^ "Phony Bonita doctor charged with felonies". San Diego News Network (SDNN). January 12, 2010. Archived from the original on January 20, 2010.
  10. ^ a b Bonita Man Pleads Guilty To Posing As Doctor. Kurt Donsbach, 75, Faces Up To Year In Jail, 13 Dec. 2010, San Diego 10 News.com
  11. ^ Stephen Barrett, MD. "The Shady Activities of Kurt Donsbach". Quackwatch. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
  12. ^ Stephen Barrett, MD. "Some Notes on Donsbach University". Quackwatch. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
  13. ^ Gambrill, Eileen (2012). "Introduction to the Players". Propaganda in the Helping Professions. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. p. 38. The most prolific producer of spurious diplomas has been Donsbach University in Huntington Beach, California |access-date= requires |url= (help)

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