Immuno Biotech Owner Imprisoned for 15 Months

Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

Owner of Immuno Biotech, David Noakes, has been sentenced to 15 months in prison over charges of manufacturing, selling, and supplying an unlicensed medicine, as well as money laundering.

David Noakes, owner of the Guernsey-based company Immuno Biotech, has been sentenced to 15 months in prison following his guilty plea over four charges of manufacturing, selling, and supplying an unlicensed medicine, as well as one count of money laundering.

The unlicensed medicine, Globulin component Macrophage Activating Factor (GcMAF), is a product manufactured from human blood that was advertised as a cure for conditions, such as cancer, HIV, and autism. However, these claims were not substantiated with any scientific basis.

Between the years of 2012 and 2015, it has been estimated that Noakes made approximately £10 million through sales of GcMAF. It was sold online, through websites across Europe.

Concerns were initially raised in 2015 by the Guernsey medicines regulator, which then led to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) performing an unannounced inspection of the Immuno Biotech’s production site in Milton, Cambridgeshire, UK, where the product was manufactured. During this inspection, it was found that unlicensed manufacturing of GcMAF was taking place; the site did not meet good manufacturing practice standards and the blood plasma raw material being used was not suitable for human use.

The MHRA seized more than 10,000 vials of product during the inspection and released a warning for people to not purchase the product, GcMAF; the agency also issued a wanted notice on Noakes. By this time, however, Noakes had already relocated the business to France. In 2017, thanks to a tip off, Dorset police arrested Noakes when he flew into Bournemouth Airport.

Other sentences have also been handed down to Loraine Noakes (ex-wife of Noakes) for sale and supply of unlicensed medicines, Rodney Smith and Emma Ward for manufacturing the product, and Brian Hall (sentence pending) for attempting to take GcMAF out of the UK.

“[The] sentencing [of Noakes and associates] marks the culmination of a complex three-year investigation by MHRA to protect public health,” said MHRA head of enforcement, Alastair Jeffrey in a Nov. 27, 2018 press statement. “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. The product was manufactured using blood plasma that was clearly marked as not to be administered to humans or used in any drug products. We strongly advise people not to use unlicensed products such as GcMAF, which may pose a significant risk to health.”

Source: MHRA