The British Medical Journal reported this week that the researcher whose work sparked widespread fears among parents that vaccines could give their children autism was fraudulent. On top of this, he was paid by plaintiff lawyers to “manufacture” evidence that would fuel lawsuits against the companies making those vaccines.
In an in-depth report, journalist Brian Deer reveals that the alleged link between the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine and autism was concocted by medical researcher Andrew Wakefield. He was working on a lawsuit and cooked up “evidence” to support his case.
You can get details of his scheme by reading the BMJ article, but I would also recommend checking out this column in Forbes for a spot-on analysis of the fallout this has had for parents, the legal system and medicine.
The most disturbing effect of this fraud has been to convince many parents that no vaccines of any kind are worth getting for their children. According to Forbes, “vaccination levels plunged as low as 80% in the U.K.,…and in 2008, measles was declared endemic in Britain and Wales.” Infections are surging elsewhere, too. The BMJ article reports that in California last summer, 10 babies died from whooping cough “in the worst outbreak since 1958.”
Yesterday, Dr. Paul Offit, the chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, appeared on Frank Beckmann’s show on WJR radio in Detroit to discuss this scandal. He revealed that dozens of studies have exonerated vaccines as a cause of autism, but said the media has done a poor job of reporting this. His book, Deadly Choices, How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All, delves deeply into other frauds that have been perpetrated and the terrible effect they have had on public health.
You say you haven’t heard much about this until now? That’s part of the problem we’re up against these days. In his blog, Point of Law, Ted Frank pointedly asks: “Can you imagine the fuss if a doctor paid by a pharmaceutical company falsified study results for the profit of that corporation with adverse health effects?” I certainly can. But complaining will get us nowhere. It’s time to get the truth about the vaccine/autism fraud to the public, so help us spread the word.