A man has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for manufacturing and selling an unlicensed medicine containing human blood plasma, the Government’s medicines watchdog has reported.
The ‘notorious ’ owner of Guernsey-based Immuno Biotech, David Noakes, 65, was sentenced to 15 months in jail for manufacturing, selling and supplying globulin component macrophage activating factor (GcMAF), the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said yesterday (27 November).
The court heard that the sale of GcMAF made Mr Noakes approximately £10m between 2012 and 2015, the watchdog said.
Despite the lack of clinical trials and scientific evidence for the drug, the MHRA said that human blood-based GcMAF was sold on various European websites, advertised as a ‘miracle cure’ for conditions including cancer, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and autism.
Mr Noakes, of Malborough Road, Bournemouth at the time of his arrest, yesterday pleaded guilty to four charges of the sale and supply of an unlicensed medicine and one count of money laundering at Southwark Crown Court.
He was circulated as ‘wanted’ by the MHRA in 2015, but by this time had relocated his business to France. He was arrested by Dorset police in February 2017 after he flew into Bournemouth airport in his own private aircraft.
Three other people were sentenced for crimes related to the supply and manufacture of GcMAF.
According to the MHRA, Mr Noakes’ sentence followed a ‘complex’ three-year investigation.
In 2015, concerns were raised by the Guernsey medicines regulator about GcMAF, which prompted the MHRA to carry out an unannounced inspection of the Immonu Biotech production site in Milton, Cambridgeshire. This led to the seizure of 10,000 vials of GcMAF worth £5.5m, the watchdog said.
The MHRA said that the site was manufacturing the product illegally without complying with good manufacturing practice standards.
In addition, the blood plasma material used to make the product was not suitable for human use, labelled as ‘not to be administered to humans or used in any drug products’, the watchdog said.
‘Significant risk to health’
MHRA head of Enforcement Alastair Jeffrey said: ‘Our investigation team worked relentlessly to bring David Noakes and his associates to justice, for putting public health at risk through the unlicensed manufacturing and sale of GcMAF products.
‘We strongly advise people not to use unlicensed products such as GcMAF, which may pose a significant risk to health.’