Zero dark dirty

Lynne McTaggart

In 1992, Armed police and Federal Drug Administration (FDA) officials burst into the offices of nutritional pioneer Dr. Jonathan Wright in Seattle Washington, guns drawn, and seized more than a hundred thousand dollars of computers, medical records and nutritional supplements. The reason for the raid was mystifying; there had been no patient complaints against him. His crime? Treating patients with vitamins.

In 1992, Armed police and Federal Drug Administration (FDA) officials burst into the offices of nutritional pioneer Dr. Jonathan Wright in Seattle Washington, guns drawn, and seized more than a hundred thousand dollars of computers, medical records and nutritional supplements. The reason for the raid was mystifying; there had been no patient complaints against him. His crime? Treating patients with vitamins.

Although no charges were ever filed against him, Wright never got his seized property back. As health writer Dr. Julian Whittaker wrote, it was a wonder he didn’t go out of business.

Although the FDA has carried out more than 25 such ‘vitamin raids’ since that time, Britain has now enthusiastically entered the fray with similar commando-style attacks on natural medicine.

As I mentioned in these pages before, on 3 February of this year, 10 investigators from the Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) arrived unannounced at the new laboratory of Immune Biotech in Milton, Cambridgeshire, four of them wearing bullet-proof vests, and in front of the two terrified female scientists, confiscated 10,000 vials of the naturally occurring glycoprotein called GcMAF before closing down the facility.

Here’s the rest of the story.

MHRA issued a statement on its website justifying its draconian measures, claiming that the production site did not meet Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards. As Gerald Heddell, MHRA Director of Inspection, Enforcement and Standards announced, in justifying the Navy SEAL-like tactics, “These products may pose a significant risk to people’s health. Not only were the manufacturing conditions unacceptable but the originating material was not suitable for human use.”

Not a medicine

The confiscated goods are not officially a ‘medicine’, but a glycoprotein, produced naturally by the body.

According to David Noakes, Immuno Biotech’s CEO, all the claims about their production process are invalid because the 10,000 vials were in fact produced elsewhere. Immune Biotech had just moved laboratories over Christmas, he says, into a larger facility meant to house research and production of the product, built to better standards than their previous one.

“Although the manufacturing equipment and all existing stock had been moved and stored, it was a shell of a building which we were converting,” he says.

Builders had not finishing transforming the facility, which had been offices, into a laboratory. Furthermore, the laboratory’s chief scientist Rod Smith had had a heart attack during Christmas and was still at home recuperating. No manufacture could proceed without him.

The MHRA originally referred to the facility as a ‘makeshift lab’ and the scientists are as ‘hobbyists with a degree in real ale brewing’.

The laboratory where the vials were actually produced was in fact a purpose built campus of laboratories in Cambridge’s Innovation Science Park, says Noakes, and the chief scientist Rod Smith is a biochemical scientist with a PhD.

Marco Ruggiero, the Italian doctor who discovered the importance of this glycoprotein and cancer, is a microbiologist once hired by the US’s National Institutes of Health to investigate the cause of AIDS and treatment of cancer.

The only reason he does not have GMP certificates, he says, is cost – it costs some £5 million to get such a license, he says. ‘Every batch is checked by Wickham Laboratories using rigorous tests for sterility. There are nine tests carried out on every batch,” says Noakes.

Worldwide supplier

Up until the February raid, Immune Biotech had been supplying hundreds of clinics around the world and more than 9000 patients, according to Noakes. As a resident of Guernsey, where he had his head offices, he had also supplied some 170 Guernsey residents suffering from a variety of illnesses with GcMAF, purportedly for free.

The tip off to the MHRA, says Noakes, came from the Health and Social Services Department (NSSD), Guernsey’s equivalent of the National Health Service.

For years, Noakes had been in constant contact with various ministers about his product, according to Commerce Minister Kevin Stewart, even setting up a special private conference for them, during which scientists would present evidence about GcMAF. Until February, they tolerated importation of GcMAF for their residents, so long as it was not supplied for commercial gain.

In fact, Ed Freestone, Guernsey’s chief pharmacist, has been quoted as saying ‘There is no current information suggesting the product has caused direct harm to anyone’s health.’

An MHRA press statement also confirms: ‘To date we have received no reports of side effects caused by this product.”

Product banned

After the raid, Guernsey authorities have now banned both importation and exportation of the product, leaving about 100 patients with serious illnesses, including cancer, without the product they claim is saving their lives.

These patients have now formed a ‘Cure Cancer support Group’ and took out an advertisement in the Guernsey Herald, pleading with the HSSD to allow them to continue to receive supplies of GcMAF.

Noakes believes that the real trigger behind the raid was government’s cosy relationship with the pharmaceutical industry. ‘The MHRA does not want to see this product on the market because its job is to maintain the monopoly and stick up for vested interests in the pharmaceutical industry,” he says.

Immune modulators like GcMAF, naturally present in mushrooms and oats or zinc in meat, are seen as major new growth areas for Big Pharma.

Furthermore, Guernsey has been targeted to abide by pharmaceutically led European law affecting unregistered medicines and food supplements. According to the Alliance for Natural Health, Guernsey’s medical regulator has been heavily lobbied by UK authorities and business lobbies, including the UK’s Food Supplement Manufacturers Association.

The long arm of Big Pharma

Drug company influence is now increasingly inherent in drug regulatory agencies. In the US, the pharmaceutical industry now largely funds the FDA.

Like the FDA, the UK government has handed over regulatory financial muscle to Big Pharma. According to his MHRA biography chief inspector Heddell has worked in senior roles in manufacturing and quality assurance for The Wellcome Foundation, Glaxo Wellcome and GlaxoSmithKline.

This is not the first time Noakes has encountered official harassment. In July, NatWest closed his business bank account, forcing him to move his funds to Shroders Bank Guernsey. But following the recent raid, this account has also been closed, only this time the bank has not returned the £1.2 million, which Noakes doesn’t believe he will ever get back from the UK government.

Noakes has no recourse to sue the UK government while it holds all his money.

If he money is not returned, Noakes is likely to have to agree to a takeover of Immuno Biotech by a competitor in a European countray with kinder regulatory laws.

If the evidence continues to pour in about the benefits of GcMAF, let’s hope Noakes’ successors can continue to dive clear of stealth bombers.

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Lynne McTaggart

Lynne McTaggart is an award-winning journalist and the author of seven books, including the worldwide international bestsellers The Power of Eight, The Field, The Intention Experiment and The Bond, all considered seminal books of the New Science and now translated into some 30 languages.

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