A cartoon of a Caucasian man giving medicine to a brown and white dog with text "Pet Medicine Scams"

In recent news, the United States Department of Justice indicted a man for a scheme to sell fraudulent canine cancer-curing drugs to pet owners. United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Jonathan Nyce, age 70, of Collegeville, PA, was charged by indictment with wire fraud and the interstate shipment of misbranded animal drugs. The charges arise from a years-long scheme to defraud pet owners of money by falsely claiming to sell canine cancer-curing drugs.

The Indictment alleges that the defendant created several companies beginning in 2012, including “Canine Care,” “ACGT,” and “CAGT,” through which he purported to develop drugs intended to treat cancer in dogs. Using various websites for these companies, the defendant marketed these “cancer-curing” medications to desperate pet owners, using the drug names “Tumexal” and “Naturasone.” The websites made numerous allegedly false and fraudulent claims regarding the safety and efficacy of these supposed drugs, including that “Tumexal is effective against a wide variety of cancers,” and, “in fact, Tumexal will almost always restore a cancer-stricken dog’s appetite, spirit and energy!” As alleged, these drugs were nothing more than a collection of bulk ingredients from various sources, which the defendant blended himself at a facility on Arcola Road in Collegeville.

Pets are family members, and when they become sick, caring owners look for hope to keep their beloved pets alive and well. Facing a cancer diagnosis of a beloved pet is difficult on many levels. It is easy to feel helpless. Learning to recognize cancer-curing schemes is a must for any pet owner.

How do we know if a drug we are giving our pet is FDA-approved?
Look at the drug’s label. All FDA-approved animal drugs have a New Animal Drug Application (NADA) number or, for generic animal drugs an Appreciated New Animal Drug Application (ANADA) number. If the number is not displayed, most FDA-approved animal drugs are listed in a searchable online database. “American pet owners rely on the FDA to ensure their pets’ drugs are safe and effective,” said Special Agent in Charge Mark McCormack, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations’ Metro Washington Field Office.

There is no fool-proof way to tell if an internet pharmacy is legal. But there are some guidelines to watch for:
• Ask the veterinarian.
• Watch for red flags – not based in the US, does not list a physical address or phone number, does not require a prescription from a veterinarian, no licensed pharmacist available to answer questions.
• Always check the site for accreditation
• Report problems and suspicious online pharmacies to the FDA
• Education yourself.

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