HOUSTON (CN) – Two men who claimed they could cure Lou Gehrig’s disease, multiple sclerosis and other diseases pleaded guilty to introducing unapproved drugs into interstate commerce, federal prosecutors said.
Francisco Morales, 52, of Brownsville, and Lawrence Stowe, 59, of Illinois, falsely claimed to be licensed doctors who ran a clinic in Brownsville, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
“Stowe admitted that beginning in January 2006, he utilized several businesses, Stowe BioTherapy Inc. and The Stowe Foundation to advertise and promote a medical treatment protocol for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s and other neurological diseases,” prosecutors said in the statement. “This treatment protocol, which was named ‘Applied Biologics,’ consisted of supplements, vaccines, patient specific transfer factors and ultimately stem cell therapy.
“Stowe falsely represented to patients that this treatment protocol had been reviewed by all levels of the FDA and was effective in the treatment of ALS, MS and Parkinson’s. There is currently no cure for these diseases.”
One ALS patient paid Stowe $47,000, prosecutors said.
Stowe got his “medicines” from questionable and unproven sources, namely chickens, prosecutors said.
“In order to produce this product, he obtained the services of a pathologist in Bryan/College Station, Texas. He then directed patients to send samples of their blood to the pathologist for the purpose of growing bacteria that would later be used to create the patient specific transfer factors,” prosecutors said.
“Stowe hired a laboratory in South Carolina to receive the bacteria which was then fed to chickens. The eggs produced by these chickens were later freeze dried and the powder from the eggs were placed in capsules and sold to patients. Stowe admitted he knew the manufacturing process and the product itself were not approved by the FDA for that treatment of human diseases.”
Morales admitted he sold Stowe an unapproved drug called SF 1019, knowing Stowe would sell it to patients, and falsely told patients that he had treated more than 1,000 patients with stem cells he got from universities, according to prosecutors’ statement.
Morales also “falsely represented to the public that he had extensive training and experience regarding stem cells and stem cell therapy, when his exposure was actually limited to attending seminars and reading materials published by researchers,” prosecutors said.
Morales admitted he took $8,300 from a couple in June 2006 to perform an unapproved stem cell procedure on their son, who had mental problems after he nearly drowned. Morales said the surgery would improve the boy’s mind, prosecutors said.
Morales said he “purchased stem cells from a company called Caledonia Consulting located in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. After acquiring stem cells from Caledonia, he would travel to Mexico and perform stem cell procedures, knowing the FDA had not approved the use of stem cells to treat human diseases,” prosecutors said.
Morales faces up to 13 years and a $250,000 fine.
Stowe faces up to 5 years and a $250,000 for his conspiracy, and 3 years for each introduction of unapproved drugs charge.
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