Doctor behind MMR scare to face four charges of misconduct over research
Sarah Boseley, health editor
Monday June 12, 2006
Andrew Wakefield, the doctor behind the scare over a potential link between the MMR jab and autism in children, is to face four charges relating to unprofessional conduct at the General Medical Council, it is reported today.
Mr Wakefield, a surgeon who became a gut specialist, could be struck off the medical register and debarred from practising in the UK if the GMC finds him guilty of serious professional misconduct.
Following the publication of a research paper in the Lancet by Mr Wakefield and colleagues in February 1998 - which suggested a tentative link between the immunisation at the age of 18 months, a bowel disorder called Crohn's disease, and autism - many parents became anxious over the safety of the measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, vaccine.
At the press conference to launch the paper, Mr Wakefield had parted company with his colleagues to say that, in his opinion, single jabs might be safer than the three-in-one MMR combination. The take-up of MMR slumped and is still low in some parts, especially areas of London. Public health experts have warned that measles outbreaks are possible, in which some children may be damaged and even die. The numbers of cases of mumps has risen. A top-level inquiry commissioned by the Medical Research Council examined Mr Wakefield's findings, and epidemiological studies were commissioned which found that children given the MMR vaccine were no more likely to become autistic than those who were not.
The message from the medical establishment consistently said that there was no evidence of a problem with MMR. In 2001 Mr Wakefield left the Royal Free hospital in north London, where he was a consultant, to work in the United States.
In 2004 it was alleged that Mr Wakefield had had an undeclared conflict of interest at the time he wrote the Lancet paper: having been paid £55,000 by the Legal Aid Board to assess whether some of the children who featured in his research paper might have a case to sue for vaccine damage.
The Lancet retracted part of the article, and the GMC began an investigation.
According to the Independent newspaper today, the preliminary charges against Mr Wakefield will be that he published inadequately founded research, failed to obtain ethical committee approval for the work, obtained funding for it improperly, and subjected children to "unnecessary and invasive investigations".
It was reported that GMC lawyers are preparing more detailed charges for publication later this year, and that there will be a public hearing next year.
Comments by Autism Diva:
So, how many kids have been harmed by the drop in uptake of vaccines that followed in Mr. Wakefield's wake? How many parents without cause decided to delay or entirely skip vaccines for their children, out of fear of having their baby descend into the "hell that is autism" (David Kirby - 2005). Without Mr. Wakefield there wouldn't have been a Bradstreet out there hyping vaccines as a cause of autism. And without Bradstreet, who was later joined in his business in Florida by Mr. Wakefield (as his director of research or something), the spoiled, oh-so entitled, self centered, wealthy mercury parents wouldn't have been looking so intently at vaccines as the unquestionable cause of their children becoming autistic in the frantic search for something to blame other than their own genes.
Though they still might have been desperately vulnerable to any fool with slick pseudo-scientific patter and promise of a cure to undo the surely externally caused autism in their children, at least public health wouldn't have suffered as it has at the hands of the mercury parents and their money grubbing personal injury lawyers. Some other sector of business might have suffered at the hands of these parents and their money grubbing personal injury lawyers, maybe it would have been big fast-food chains...see "AutismFries.com." Maybe instead of "mercury parents" we all be watching the "french fry parents" demanding an apology (and remuneration) from McDonald's and Burger King for their supposedly having caused the ruination of a generation of children--an "epidemic" of children made autistic by trans-fatty acids or acrylamide. Somehow I think we could count saunas, chelation, lose-dose Naltrexone, and HBOT as being cures since quacks step in and offer them for nearly any chronic or self-limiting health problem ...
One can only hope that justice will be done for those starting and perpetuating this vaccine-as-cause-of-autism madness.