UK man accused of making ‘fake’ coronavirus test kits and mailing them worldwide

A 59-year-old Brit has been charged with making more than 300 coronavirus treatment kits – which are alleged to be fake.

Officers from the City of London police arrested Frank Ludlow in a post office near his West Sussex home on Friday following a joint investigation between the force, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and the United States' Food and Drug Administration.

He was charged the next day with one count of fraud by false representation, one count of possession of articles for use in fraud, and one count of unlawfully manufacturing a medicinal product. On the same day he appeared at Brighton Magistrates Court and was remanded in custody until 20 April 2020.

City of London Police revealed that an investigation began in Los Angeles on March 18 when US border officials intercepted a package containing 60 separate Covid-19 treatment kits labelled as ‘Anti-Pathogenic treatment’, which were sent from the UK.

The US FDA then alerted the MHRA in the UK.

The case was passed to City of London police on March 20 and less than four hours later, Ludlow was arrested by police officers in a post office.

He was allegedly attempting to send 60 more fake treatment kits to France, the US, and other parts of the UK.

Police say they are awaiting the results of forensic testing on the kits to determine exactly what they consist of and whether they are dangerous to health.

During a search of Ludlow’s home, officers also allegedly found 300 more treatment kits and an estimated 20 litres of liquids used in the production of the fake kits.

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The City of London Police's Detective Chief Superintendant Clinton Blackburn, said: “While police have taken swift action to arrest this individual, we believe some of these kits may still be in circulation.

"If you have purchased one of these kits, it’s important you do not use it. Instead, report it to Action Fraud via their website or by calling 0300 123 2040 and quoting ‘Trinity CV19 treatment kits’”.

And the MHRA's head of operations for enforcement, Tariq Sarwar, added: “We are committed to working together with national and international partners to protect public health and prevent unauthorised medicines and medical devices getting to the public.

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“This joint cooperation and intervention with the City of London Police and the FDA resulted in products claiming to be COVID-19 treatment kits being taken out of circulation.

“We are encouraging people with health concerns to seek advice from a registered healthcare professional and only purchase medicines they need from an authorised seller.

"You should ensure you are buying your medicines and medical devices from a registered pharmacy or website only."

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