Date of prep: December 2020
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A convicted fugitive faces the confiscation of £1.4 million in prime assets by the Crown, following a hearing at Southwark Crown Court.
It means that David Noakes, who has been convicted of money laundering and the manufacture and sale of unlicensed medicines, will face the seizure of his aircraft, boat, Aston Martin, Rolls Royce and UK and Guernsey bank accounts.
The outcome follows a four-year investigation by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which was assisted by the London Regional Asset Recovery Team (RART) in investigating Noakes’s complex financial dealings.
Noakes, the owner of Guernsey-based Immuno Biotech, served a 15-month prison sentence from November 2018 after pleading guilty to 4 charges relating to the manufacture, sale and supply of an unlicensed medicine (GcMAF), and one count of money laundering.
Globulin component Macrophage Activating Factor (GcMAF) was a product made from human blood, sold by a Guernsey-based company called Immuno Biotech, headed by Noakes.
Noakes advertised GcMAF as a ‘miracle cure’ for a range of conditions including cancer, HIV and autism, with no scientific basis to support these medicinal claims. The court heard Noakes made over £13 million from the sale of GcMAF between 2011 and 2015.
GcMAF was sold through various European websites which UK buyers would have had no difficulty accessing. Production was stopped in January 2015, as a result of the MHRA’s investigation, and a seizure of more than 10,000 vials took place, which Noakes could have sold for £5.5 million. The MHRA also issued a warning to the public against purchasing GcMAF.
The £1,349,400.48 confiscation order means that the identified assets will be realised and paid to the Home Office for distribution under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) 2002 incentivisation scheme.
MHRA Head of Enforcement, Andy Morling, said:
“Today’s confiscation marks the successful conclusion of a complex, four-year investigation by the MHRA Enforcement Group.
“Our investigation team has worked relentlessly to bring David Noakes and his associates to justice and today’s decision to deny him the proceeds of his criminality is welcome. Noakes put public health at risk through the unlicensed manufacturing and sale of GcMAF products, which were not fit for human consumption or for use as medicines.
“To get the best advice in relation to your health, visit your GP or other health professionals, get a correct diagnosis and always buy medicines from a legitimate high street or registered pharmacy.
“To stay safe when buying medicines online, always buy from a registered website. Avoid dodgy online providers, suspicious URLs and beware of unrealistic claims which can expose you to unlicensed medicines, or even identity theft and fraud.
“Patient safety is our highest priority and we will continue to track, prosecute and remove assets from criminals who exploit public health for their own gain.”
This article is being shared under the Open Government Copyright licence.
Pharmacy in Practice is a UK pharmacy publication with its roots in Scotland.