KANSAS PHYSICIAN SENTENCED TO TIME SERVED FOR PHONY LYME DISEASE CURE
KANSAS CITY, KAN. – A Kansas physician who already served more than two years in state prison has been sentenced to time served on federal charges he participated in a fraudulent scheme to sell medical equipment and drug treatments for a nonexistent epidemic of Lyme disease, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.
John R. Toth, 61, Topeka, Kan., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, introduce misbranded drugs into interstate commerce, receive misbranded drugs in interstate commerce and introduce adulterated or misbranded medical devices into interstate commerce.
In his plea, Toth admitted that beginning in September 2001, he and a group of co-defendants connected with a company that operated under the name American Biologics developed a strategy for marketing a medical device and drugs to diagnose and treat Lyme disease, which they claimed was the underlying cause of many illnesses the medical community was failing to address. The marketing plan promoted a false “epidemic” of Lyme disease in order to create demand for a microscope the co-defendants manufactured and claimed could diagnose the disease and for drugs they claimed could cure the disease. Neither the medical device nor the drugs was reviewed or approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
In state district court, Toth pleaded no contest to manslaughter in 2007 in the death of a patient. He was released in July 2010 after serving 26 months.
In the federal case, U.S. District Court Judge Kathryn H. Vratil sentenced Toth to time served, two years supervised release and a $25,100 money judgment.
Grissom commended the Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigation, Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Rask and John Claud, trial attorney with the Department of Justice’s Office of Consumer Litigation for their work on the case.