Today’s Veterinary Business Staff
A former pharmaceutical executive has been indicted on allegations that he defrauded dog owners by selling phony drugs marketed as cures for canine cancer.
Jonathan Nyce, 70, is accused of persuading the owners of terminally ill dogs to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for products under the brand names Tumexal and Naturasone. What they received, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, were unapproved medications made from bulk ingredients that he personally blended. An Illinois woman paid more than $5,000, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
“The defendant’s alleged conduct here is shameful,” U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain said. “As any dog owner will tell you — myself included — pets quickly become part of the family. And when they become sick, caring owners look for hope, often doing everything they can to keep their beloved pets alive and well.
“The defendant is charged with taking advantage of that nurturing instinct in the worst way possible by defrauding pet owners and giving them false hope that they might be able to save their dying pet.”
Nyce, a resident of Collegeville, Pennsylvania, served eight years in prison for manslaughter in the 2004 death of his wife. He previously earned a doctorate in molecular biology and founded the now-defunct company EpiGenesis Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Out of prison, Nyce started a trio of companies — Canine Care, ACGT and CAGT — whose websites “made numerous allegedly false and fraudulent claims regarding the safety and efficacy of these supposed drugs,” according to prosecutors. Among the claims were one that “Tumexal is effective against a wide variety of cancers” and another that “Tumexal will almost always restore a cancer-stricken dog’s appetite, spirit and energy!”
Nyce could be sentenced to up to 32 years in prison if convicted of wire fraud and the interstate shipment of misbranded animal drugs.
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