Purported biotech exec charged with selling substance he claims is COVID-19 vaccine

A Washington man claiming to be a biotech expert was arrested Jan. 21 and charged with introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce by offering an unknown substance that he claimed is a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the U.S. Justice Department

Johnny Stine claims to be the founder and president of North Coast Biologics, and he allegedly told an undercover investigator that he had developed a COVID-19 vaccine. The FDA was alerted to Mr. Stine's online postings offering the substance in March. He allegedly offered to inject customers with the unknown substance for $400 to $1,000 each. 

In April, responding to complaints from the public, Washington's attorney general issued a cease and desist letter to Mr. Stine, telling him to stop making claims that he had a vaccine for COVID-19. He signed a consent decree with the attorney general in June, agreeing not to promote or sell the substance. 

But in August, Mr. Stine allegedly continued to communicate with an undercover agent and traveled to Idaho to inject the agent. Law enforcement seized the substance at that time. 

Law enforcement was alerted this month that at least one person who had allegedly been injected by Mr. Stine was in the hospital with COVID-19. 

Mr. Stine is also accused of running a business that sold cancer patients untested vaccines for malignant tumors. 

The charges against Mr. Stine carry a maximum sentence of one year in prison. 

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