You don’t expect to find unlicensed biologic drug-packaging operations in an English warehouse, but that’s just what the government’s MHRA uncovered recently. There has been a boom in unlicensed sales of the the blood factor gcMAF, which is being touted as a cancer cure, HIV cure, pretty much good for what ails you. And these folks were supplying that market:
Investigators from MHRA carried out an unannounced inspection of a production site in Milton, Cambridgeshire, after the medicines regulator in Guernsey raised concerns in relation to the product. The blood plasma starting material being used to make this drug stated “Not to be administered to humans or used in any drug products”. It was concluded that the production site does not meet Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards and there are concerns over the sterility of the medicine being produced and the equipment being used. There are concerns that the product may be contaminated.
More than 10,000 vials were seized at this site and production of this unlicensed medicine has now ceased. . .
No doubt. What amazes me here is that they were actually going to the trouble of producing gcMAF at all. These folks believed in their product to what is an unusual degree in the black-market-medicine business. I hadn’t heard of this particular craze, but I have noted (here in the US) another boomlet in another naturally-occurring hormone, HCG. This was suggested decades ago as a diet aid, and has had cycles of popularity over the years, despite no actual evidence that it does any good. It’s picked up again, and now you not only have people selling actual repurposed HCG (and fake HCG that looks like the actual stuff), you also have other entrepreneurs who have jumped into the market with “homeopathic” and “herbal” HCG, whatever the hell those are supposed to be.
This actually bears on the blog post I put up earlier today, on general scientific ignorance. Not only do people not know all that much real science, they don’t even tend to get the fake stuff right. For many customers, putting “homeopathic” or “herbal” in front of a drug name is just fine – they treat these as alternate forms of the same thing, just, you know, more natural and safer and all that. There’s a homeopathic everything, just like there’s an herbal everything; that’s just how it works, right? What’s more, the great majority of people in this country who buy homeopathic whatever don’t actually realize what homeopathy is, that these “medicines” are supposed to be these amazingly dilute, amazingly potent substances produced by a sort of “like cures like” principle. It’s hooey, but people don’t even grasp the hooey. “Homeopathic” just sort of means “natural” in a fuzzy way, and there are plenty of marketers willing to slap the word on a label if it helps to move some product.
So as I say, I’m surprised that the gcMAF people were conscientious enough to actually be working with plasma (although perhaps not conscientious enough to be working with plasma that was fit to produce a human drug). They should have just filled the vials with distilled water. That’s how they’d do it over here. One production line, with the same water, but three different labels – one says gcMAF, for the people who want that, one says homeopathic gcMAF, for the ones who’ll spring for that variety instead, and finally one that says herbal gcMAF, because there will surely be people who will bite for that one, and you don’t want to miss getting their money, either, now do you?
It occurs to me, and not for the first time, that if I could arrange for some sort of consciencectomy operation, I could be a wealthy man.