British Researcher Holds True to His Study Despite Claims of Falsified Data
Controversial British surgeon Dr. Andrew Wakefield today defended allegations by authors that his research citing a possible link between the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and autism were outright “fraudulent.”
Evidence Wakefield published in 1998 gave birth to the belief of a connection between vaccines and autism, which ignited a nationwide public health scare and a larger anti-vaccine movement.
But authors of the editorial published nearly two weeks ago in the British Medical Journal confirmed previous suggestions that Wakefield skewed patients’ medical records to support his hypothesis that the widely-used measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) combination vaccine was causing autism and irritable bowel disease.
“The work certainly does raise a question mark over MMR vaccine,” Wakefield said in a 1998 interview.
But editorial authors wrote, “clear evidence of falsification of data should now close the door on this damaging vaccine scare.”
According to the editorial, Wakefield stood to gain financially from his purported findings because of his involvement in a lawsuit against manufacturers of the MMR vaccine. British news reports said Wakefield was hired as a consultant by lawyers trying to sue the vaccine’s manufacturers. His compensation, they said, was about $750,000.
Wakefield today denied any allegations of wrongdoing. He said British reporter Brian Deers, who led the latest investigation unraveling Wakefield’s research, used selective information from the study to build a case against Wakefield.