Medical journal: Study linking autism, vaccines is 'elaborate fraud' … A now-retracted British study that linked autism to childhood vaccines is an "elaborate fraud," according to a medical journal — a charge the physician behind the study vigorously denies. The British medical journal BMJ, which published the results of its investigation, concluded Dr. Andrew Wakefield (left) misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study — and that there was "no doubt" Wakefield was responsible. The journalist who wrote the BMJ articles said Thursday he believes Wakefield should face criminal charges. However, Wakefield said his work has been "grossly distorted." Speaking on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," he said Wednesday he is the target of "a ruthless, pragmatic attempt to crush any attempt to investigate valid vaccine safety concerns." The medical publication says the study has done long-lasting damage to public health. – CNN
Dominant Social Theme: Vaccines are safe. Period. And those who deny it are criminals.
Free-Market Analysis: Dr. Wakefield's journey into medical purgatory continues. He initially co-authored a study back in 1998 that suggested that a link between autism and vaccines deserved further study. Since then his views have hardened. He has been outspoken about the dangers of giving children so many vaccines in early childhood – by some estimates up to 35 vaccines before a child is five years old. His arguments have found fertile soil, with both parents and Dr. Wakefield suggesting that children with compromised immune systems – or even children with a certain genetic profile – ought to forego an aggressive vaccination schedules.
The idea of bombarding the young body with so many faux-illnesses over such a short period of time is probably bound to generate certain side-effects in certain children – or at least this seems to be a reasonable perspective. Doctors in private may admit to this possibility, yet Big Pharma, behind the vaccine industry, seems unable to countenance the perspective that vaccines are in any way responsible for any side-effects at all. The idea that a single one-size-fits-all medical treatment has NO untoward effects EVER seems a somewhat doctrinaire view, but it is the one that some in the field, including the pharmaceutical industry itself, continue to advance.
Dr. Wakefield has pointed out in the past that Big Pharma has resorted to fairly unorthodox tactics to discredit those it considers its opponents. We were fortunate to get a fairly lengthy interview with Dr. Wakefield back in May 2010, that from our point of view put the controversy into a larger perspective. What emerged was a portrait of beleaguered but defiant professional whose perspective was echoed by parents who had seen vaccine-based injuries first-hand with their own children. To read the interview Click Here.
Dr. Wakefield's persecution, in fact, fits a pattern. Despite denials about the profitability of vaccines, Big Pharma seems to be behind much of the persecution of those who question the viability of modern, Western medicine. There was, for instance, a trial in Australia in which Merck contested statements by doctors who dissented from the use of Vioxx, or considered Vioxx unsafe. Wakefield told us, "Internal Merck memos talked about how they would discredit them and neutralize them and the last internal memo to be read out had the following line, referring to those doctors, 'We may have to seek them out and destroy them where they live.' … Is there corruption? Is there distortion? Is there manipulation? Absolutely."
The current BMJ article (referred to, above, in the CNN report) was written by Brian Deer; he also writes for the London Times. The owner of the London Times is publisher Rupert Murdoch who has a variety of ties to Big Pharma and the Anglo-American power elite that has substantial ownership of Big Pharma from what we can tell. Deer has written continuously about Dr. Wakefield; his conflicts of interest and his reported fraudulent initial study – which he claims was motivated by a business relationship that Wakefield had at the time to create a new kind of vaccine. Wakefield reportedly responded to the charges by suggesting that Deer was "a hit man who has been brought in to take me down" by pharmaceutical interests.
In our interview, Wakefield denied that any outside interests had played a part in his study and had more to say about Deer. He told us: "I think a lot of the problem has been the original [Deer penned] Sunday Times article on this whole affair was grossly, factually inaccurate but that was the lead story that people have followed. Certain things became imbedded as part of the truth and people came to believe them simply because they were repeated time and time again."
No matter how Wakefield is attacked, the controversy is not likely going to go away. Fox News reports that many families with autistic children are standing by Dr. Wakefield and his 1998 report, despite the new accusations. This is not surprising: Over and over parents make the point that their children began to show symptoms of autism after receiving vaccines. Either the children's immune systems were stressed from previous or current sicknesses at the time of the vaccine; or the children at very young ages received a vaccine cocktail. Here's an excerpt from the Fox News report:
Carmen Inclan, from Tampa, feels there's no scientific proof behind the British Medical Journal and its claim Dr. Wakefield is a fraud. "I don't give this article, this report any credibility – until I see more factual information about why they're saying it's fraudulent, prove it," she said. Inclan's 7-year-old son Michael is autistic. Inclan said her proof that his condition can be blamed on vaccinations is a very specific timeline. When Michael was 18 months old, he got a MMR shot and back-to-back flu shots. His fraternal twin Christopher got the same exact vaccinations. Carmen said the difference is that Michael was already sick and on antibiotics, his immune system compromised. Carmen won't vaccinate her children anymore, relying on a more holistic approach.
Despite such verbal evidence, defenders of vaccines still will not grant a link between vaccines and any side effects. They cite study after study that shows a lack of any individual link; meanwhile there is report after report by parents claiming just such a linkage. Another side-effect to vaccines may be asthma, which is a condition that has been growing significantly. There seems little research into any link between asthma and vaccines, though in our interview, Dr. Wakefield expressed interest in a potential linkage.
The barrage of ever-escalating accusations against Dr. Wakefield – his license to practice medicine in Britain has been revoked and his initial research has been retracted by the journal that published it – seems intended to chill whatever interest professionals may have in such investigations. Here's some more from the CNN article, excerpted above:
"It's one thing to have a bad study, a study full of error, and for the authors then to admit that they made errors," Fiona Godlee, BMJ's editor-in-chief, told CNN. "But in this case, we have a very different picture of what seems to be a deliberate attempt to create an impression that there was a link by falsifying the data."
In our commentary about the interview with Dr. Wakefield, we pointed out that his reasonable point of view (that "safety-first" ought to be of paramount importance when it comes to vaccines) would eventually win the day. We also noted that "what is being done to him now, this campaign of apparent de-legitimization, is fairly puzzling given obvious conclusions almost any fair-minded person would reach regarding this controversy." Since we wrote these words, Dr. Wakefield has lost his license to practice in Britain, had trouble finding a publisher for a new, broader study about vaccines and their side-effects in monkeys and now has been accused of criminal fraud. Nonetheless, we concluded our commentary as follows:
But no matter. The Internet has radically leveled the playing field. The word is out to millions. Wakefield's public evisceration has probably done nothing more than to generate sympathy for him in many quarters … Eventually, in our opinion, vaccine makers (and their enablers in government regulatory agencies and especially within the World Health Organization) will be forced by the market itself – by concerned parents – to admit that certain vaccines apparently have certain side-effects – at least when given to certain children at certain times in their lives …
Here at the Bell, anyway, we would welcome further scrutiny of Big Pharma generally. We think finding natural cures in the Amazon and elsewhere and then mimicking them artificially in the laboratory is fundamentally questionable and leads to dangerous medicine. In fact, we hope at some point the whole science of vaccines comes in for more serious scrutiny. There are more and more disease-specific vaccines these days, but from our humble point of view the evidence for the efficacy of many of these is scant. Certainly, according to Dr. Wakefield, not a lot of safety testing is going on.
No matter what Big Pharma tries to do these days – especially to Dr. Wakefield – the controversy about vaccines is likely to continue and vaccines rates (especially of the measles vaccine) will remain stubbornly lower. If one grants the efficacy of vaccines generally, it does not seem to make much sense that the pharmaceutical industry and its governmental allies are fighting so hard to suppress knowledge that vaccines can have side effects. In the United States, in fact, a special court has been set up to hear the evidence of parents who claim that vaccines have harmed their children, and awards have begun to be made.
The legal evidence seems increasingly to contradict the stances of Big Pharma and its medical and governmental enablers. This is not going to help Dr. Wakefield though, who looks increasingly like the Galileo of his day, pressured on all fronts to deny something that he and many others know is most likely true.