The MHRA has warned the public about the “significant risk” of taking an unlicensed blood product that was mis-sold as a cancer cure.
Various European websites sold globulin component macrophage activating factor (GcMAF) under the name First Immune, the MHRA said on Tuesday (February 3). The product claimed to treat a range of conditions, including cancer, HIV and autism, the watchdog said.
MHRA investigators seized more than 10,000 vials of the drug in an unannounced inspection on a production site in Cambridgeshire. They discovered that it was being produced with “blood plasma starting material” that was labelled as “not to be administered to humans or used in drug products”, the MHRA said.
The watchdog was concerned that the equipment and medicine it found were not sterilised and concluded that the production site did not meet manufacturing standards, it said. The MHRA halted production of the medicine at the site, but said it was concerned that UK patients could already have bought the drug online.
The MHRA's investigations were ongoing and it had not received reports of any side effects caused by the product, it added.
MHRA director of inspection, enforcement and standards Gerald Heddell branded the drug’s manufacturing conditions as “unacceptable” and urged any patients taking the product to seek advice from a doctor “as soon as possible”.
“The advice is: do not buy medicines from an unregistered pharmacy as you don’t know what you are getting, where it came from or if it’s safe to take. The dose could be too high or too low, or the product could be contaminated,” he added.