David Noakes, owner of Guernsey-based Immuno Biotech, and three others have been sentenced for manufacturing and selling an unlicensed drug to patients suffering from conditions including cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV and autism.
Noakes, 65, was sentenced to 15 months in prison after pleading guilty to 4 charges relating to the manufacture and sale and supply of Globulin component Macrophage Activating Factor (GcMAF), and one count of money laundering. He was also disqualified from being a company director for eight years.
GcMAF was made of human blood plasma which was for research purposes only and not for human consumption. Drug was made in a Noakes-owned laboratory in Cambridgeshire, Macro Innovations, and sold through Immuno Biotech.
GcMAF was advertised as a ‘miracle cure’ for a range of conditions including cancer, HIV and autism. There is no scientific basis for any of Noake’s claims about the product and Noakes made approximately £10 million from the sale of GcMAF between 2012 and 2015, the Southwark Crown Court heard.
Dr. Rodney Smith and Emma Ward, the scientists worked at the laboratory and manufactured the medicine, were sentenced eight months and six months in prison respectively. Ward’s sentence is suspended for two years and she was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.
Loraine Noakes, David’s ex-wife, who was in charge of distributing the product through a company called European Fulfilment, received eight months in prison suspended for two years and was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.
Noakes’ sentencing comes after an MHRA investigation spanning more than three years. The agency carried out an inspection at the Macro laboratory in January 2015 where the manufacturing operations were found. The defendants had never applied for a licence to manufacture or distribute GcMAF and none were registered as pharmacists.
The MHRA seized more than 10,000 vials at the site to the value of £5.5 million, and warned people not to purchase GcMAF.
Ward initially claimed the drugs were only being produced for research purposes, court heard. As the investigation progressed, Noakes and co-defendant Brian Hall tried to take the drugs out of the UK.
Brian Hall, who attempted to take GcMAF out of the UK, will be sentenced at a later date.
Noakes was circulated as wanted by the MHRA in 2015. By this time Noakes had relocated his business to France, but in February 2017 following a tip off was arrested by Dorset police, having flown into Bournemouth Airport in his own private aircraft from Cherbourg, France.