UK autism-vaccine study was 'elaborate fraud'

Wakefield said he was the victim of a smear campaign by drug manufacturers.

UK autism-vaccine study was 'elaborate fraud'

Dr. Andrew Wakefield, the-now disgraced British doctor who published studies linking vaccines with autism, committed an "elaborate fraud" by faking data, the British Medical Journal said on Wednesday.

The journal's editors said it was not possible that Wakefield made a mistake but must have falsified the data for his study, which convinced thousands of parents that vaccines are dangerous and which is blamed for ongoing outbreaks of measles and mumps.

The journal, commonly nicknamed the BMJ, supported its position with a series of articles by a journalist who used medical records and interviews to show that Wakefield falsified data.

For instance, the reports found that Wakefield, who included data from only 12 children in his report, studied at least 13 and that several showed symptoms of autism before having been vaccinated.

Fears that vaccines might cause autism have not only caused parents to skip vaccinating their children, but have forced costly reformulations of many vaccines.

"Who perpetrated this fraud? There is no doubt that it was Wakefield," BMJ editor Dr. Fiona Godlee and colleagues wrote in a commentary, available online at http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.c7452.

In 1998, The Lancet medical journal, a rival to the BMJ, published a study by Wakefield and colleagues linking the combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine with autism.

The other researchers later withdrew their names from the study and The Lancet formally retracted the paper in February.

"Smear campaign"

Wakefield said he was the victim of a smear campaign by drug manufacturers.

In an interview late on 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 vaccine 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.'

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


Agencies

Last Mod: 07 Ocak 2011, 11:12
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