Autism study doctor says victim of smears

Jan 06, 2011

The doctor behind a linking childhood autism to a vaccine that has been branded a fraud by the British Medical Journal said he was the victim of a smear campaign by drug manufacturers.

In an interview late Wednesday with CNN, Andrew Wakefield denied inventing data and blasted a reporter who apparently uncovered the falsifications as a "hit man" doing the bidding of a powerful pharmaceutical industry.

"It's a ruthless pragmatic attempt to crush any investigation into valid safety concerns," Wakefield said.

"He is a hit man," Wakefield said of journalist Brian Deer. "He's been brought in to take me down because they are very, very concerned about the adverse reactions to vaccines that are occurring in children."

When asked who he meant by "they," he said Deer "was supported in his investigation by the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries, which is funded directly and exclusively by the pharmaceutical industry."

In stunning charges Wednesday, the BMJ said the 1998 study that unleashed a major health scare by linking childhood autism to the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine was an "elaborate fraud," and said the paper was a crafted attempt to deceive, among the gravest of charges in medical research.

The study unleashed a widespread parental boycott of the vaccine in Britain, and unease reverberated also in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Wakefield and his team suggested they had found a "new syndrome" of autism and bowel disease among 12 children.

They linked it to the MMR vaccine, which they said had been administered to eight of the youngsters shortly before the symptoms emerged.

But not one of the 12 cases, as reported in the study, tallied fully with the children's official medical records, and some diagnoses had been misrepresented and dates faked in order to draw a convenient link with the MMR vaccine, BMJ said.

Wakefield, a consultant in experimental gastro-enterology at London's Royal Free Hospital at the time of his paper, shot back, insisting the "truth" was is in his book about the long-running scandal.

"The book is not a lie, the study is not a lie. The findings that we made have been replicated in five countries around the world," he said.

"I did not make up the diagnoses" of ."

Experts say the study's results have never been replicated.

When asked why 10 of his co-authors retracted the interpretations of the study, Wakefield said: "I'm afraid the pressure has been put on them to do so.

"People get very, very frightened. You're dealing with some very powerful interests here."

Explore further: Surrogate offers clues into man with 16 babies

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Autism-vaccine study was 'fraud' says journal (Update)

Jan 05, 2011

A 1998 study that linked childhood autism to a vaccine was branded an "elaborate fraud" by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) Thursday, but its lead author said he was the victim of a smear campaign by drug manufacturers. ...

Britain bans doctor who linked autism to vaccine

May 24, 2010

(AP) -- Britain's top medical group banned a doctor who was the first to publish peer-reviewed research suggesting a connection between a common vaccine and autism from practicing in the country, finding ...

Vaccines and autism: Many hypotheses, but no correlation

Jan 30, 2009

An extensive new review summarizes the many studies refuting the claim of a link between vaccines and autism. The review, in the February 15, 2009 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases and now available online, looks at the ...

Recommended for you

Surrogate offers clues into man with 16 babies

3 hours ago

When the young Thai woman saw an online ad seeking surrogate mothers, it seemed like a life-altering deal: $10,000 to help a foreign couple that wanted a child but couldn't conceive.

Nurses go on strike in Ebola-hit Liberia

3 hours ago

Nurses at Liberia's largest hospital went on strike on Monday, demanding better pay and equipment to protect them against a deadly Ebola epidemic which has killed hundreds in the west African nation.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge arrives in North Korea

Aug 31, 2014

It's pretty hard to find a novel way to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge by now, but two-time Grammy-winning rapper Pras Michel, a founding member of the Fugees, has done it—getting his dousing in the center ...

Cold cash just keeps washing in from ALS challenge

Aug 28, 2014

In the couple of hours it took an official from the ALS Association to return a reporter's call for comment, the group's ubiquitous "ice bucket challenge" had brought in a few million more dollars.

Medtronic spends $350M on another European deal

Aug 27, 2014

U.S. medical device maker Medtronic is building stronger ties to Europe, a couple months after announcing a $42.9 billion acquisition that involves moving its main executive offices across the Atlantic, where it can get a ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

deatopmg
5 / 5 (1) Jan 06, 2011
I wouldn't put it past big pharma!!