In past blogs, I’ve exposed what I consider to be the unethical and unscrupulous actions of Dr. Andrew Wakefield and his so-called autism research. Here are just a few:
- Lancet formally retracts paper linking vaccine to autism
- U.S. study clears measles vaccine of autism link
- Does the MMR vaccine cause autism? A redux.
- Vaccine Myth #1: Vaccines Cause Autism
Wakefield’s now disproven 1998 study supposedly linked the vaccine for mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) to autism. Unfortunately, this led to a dramatic drop in vaccinations and a jump in measles cases around the world — causing who knows how many unnecessary childhood deaths.
Since then, at least 25 studies have found no link between the vaccine and autism.
And now, not only have the scientific methods of Wakefield been shown to be highly suspect, but so have his many financial conflicts. You can read more about these in a New York Times report.
Now, Britain’s top medical group has ruled that Wakefield can no longer practice in the U.K. Here are the details from an AP report:
The General Medical Council also found Dr. Andrew Wakefield guilty of “serious professional misconduct” as it struck him from the country’s medical register. The council was investigating HOW Wakefield and colleagues carried out their research, NOT the science behind it (the latter being long ago discredited).
When the research was published a dozen years ago, parents around the world abandoned the measles vaccine in droves, leading to a resurgence of the disease. Vaccination rates have never recovered and there are outbreaks of measles in the U.K. and the U.S. every year as a result.
In 1998, Wakefield and colleagues published a study alleging a link between autism and the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella. Most of the study’s authors renounced its conclusions and it was retracted then by the journal, the Lancet, this last February.
Many other studies have been conducted since then and none have found a connection between autism and the vaccines. Wakefield moved to the U.S. several years ago and the ruling does not affect his right to practice medicine there or in other countries.
In 2005, Wakefield founded a nonprofit autism center in Austin, Texas, but quit earlier this year.
In January, Britain’s medical council ruled that Wakefield and two other doctors acted unethically and showed a “callous disregard” for the children in their study. The medical body said Wakefield took blood samples from children at his son’s birthday party, paying them 5 pounds (today worth $7.20) each and later joked about the incident.
In a statement then, Wakefield said the medical council’s investigation was an effort to “discredit and silence” him to “shield the government from exposure on the (measles) vaccine scandal.”
In Monday’s ruling, the medical council said Wakefield abused his position as a doctor and “brought the medical profession into disrepute.”
But, worse than this, who knows how many childhood deaths now rest at his doorstep?