Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fraud Behind Vaccine Autism Scare

Most parents and all Pediatricians are aware of the 1998 study published in The Lancet by Dr. Andrew Wakefield that mentioned a causal link between Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine and the increased incidence of childhood Autism.  It shook the medical community and created an international movement of parents questioning the extensive combination of immunizations that are given to children.  Could these immunizations be the cause of the increase in Autism cases we have seen since the 1960s?

In 2010, The Lancet  formally retracted the link from the study and 10 of the original authors denounced it,  but that didn't make top news.  The movement, now has a celebrity spokesperson in Jenny McCarthy, and more and more stories of children who were perfect before the vaccine and then suddenly regressed.

Now the British Medical Journal has published a series of articles that shows how Wakefield, now 54, was judged by a five member panel to be guilty of some 30 charges, including four counts of dishonesty and 12 of causing children to be subjected to invasive procedures that were clinically unjustified.  Dr. John Walker-Smith, 74, professor of pediatric gastroenterology and  a collaborator of Wakefield,  was deemed irresponsible and unethical also as they developed their theory together and trolled the halls and clinics for patients they could investigate and then report had developed bowel symptoms after vaccines. 

Around the same time,  Dr. Wakefield and several business colleagues launched a business venture that would sell diagnostic tests for vaccine-induced diseases and transfer factor-based vaccines and therapies. The BMJ authors found that a prospectus distributed to potential investors said the venture was expected to make more than $40 million within three years.  In addition, Wakefield received more than $650,000 from lawyers trying to build a case against vaccine manufacturers.  The same lawyers funded his clinical research that was later published, (and never duplicated),  an unbelievable conflict of interest and frankly fraudulent.

The fantastic investigative reporting in BMJ ends with a very nice timeline so you can see the events that started the vaccine scare in 1998 and where it ended up today.  In the meantime, Dr. Wakefield became a very rich man.

"The MMR scare was based not on bad science but on a deliberate fraud," BMJ Editor-in-Chief Fiona Godlee said in a prepared statement, "Such clear evidence of falsification of data should now close the door on this damaging vaccine scare."

It is a sad black mark on science and it shows again the corruptive influence of money, greed, power, anecdotal reporting by the press, bad peer review by professional journals,  and just plain fraud and how it can influence decades of patient care.   Here we are 13 years later and thousands of parents are afraid of vaccinating their children because of this fraudulent scheme.

Check out the link and always remember that Science is an evolving, changing field.  One study or one case is not proof of anything.  There are no wonder drugs.  There are few (or no)  simple answers to complex questions in life.

29 comments:

BrainDame said...

Thanks for such a great summary of this hoax! We need to get THIS word out! Not the one that has festered for years.

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Michael Kirsch, M.D. said...

Not only is there not a shred of evidence supporting the autism-vaccine link, there is a mountain of evidence refuting it. Autism is a tragedy, but it is not the vaccines' fault. Thanks for the post.

tracy said...

i have probably mentioned this before, but our son has Asperger's...it would be nice to be able to "blame" the vaccinatione, however, we don't. Would that change anything...?

Toni Brayer, MD said...

I don't know why international "escort" spam thinks they will get customers from my vaccine fraud post but they have all been deleted!!!

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Alice Robertson said...

Not sure why Kevinmd deletes anything I try to post to you about this? So I will try again on your blog:

I am sorry for not writing this sooner (my daughter became ill…and sometimes it is hard to get posts posted).

I tried to wade through this mess because believing one side is poor research. I realize the GMC report is about six million words….several copies of War and Peace to be sure…but there was an interesting roundtable type of discussion in Britain on this. Top experts…Wakefield..Deer, etc. discussed at length for hours. Worth listening to for those who want to know what other doctors think….and some think the fraud goes deeper than the public press is reporting.

Fascinating what you find when you are seeking the truth. Last weekend I met the doctor who wrote the chapter on immunizations for Dr.Oz’s newer book on babies (didn’t realize she lives close enough I could walk to her home easily). More on that in a later post….

Here is a problem we stumble with…..what if a doctor who did no harm is brought up on charges they lied about data and the parents (from the original 12) are writing public letters in support of him (some are in British papers my husband and I enjoy reading…even with their sensational flare).

Should a doctor really be stripped of the ability to practice medicine when no one was harmed? If so, one wonders...if what is good for the goose is good for the gander?

Sent from my iPad=

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