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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Andrew Wakefield is Accountable for Vaccine-Autism Hysteria - Wake up call to AIDS Denialist quacks

UPDATE: Wakefield's quack paper is retracted by Lancet. Can he try to republish it in Medical Veritas?

MMR doctor 'failed to act in interests of children'
General Medical Council finds Andrew Wakefield, who linked MMR with autism, failed in duties as responsible consultant
Published in the Guardian Newspaper

Dr Andrew Wakefield,  at the centre of the MMR controversy, "failed in his duties as a responsible consultant" and showed a "callous disregard" for the suffering of children involved in his research, the General Medical Council (GMC) has ruled.
Wakefield also acted dishonestly and was misleading and irresponsible in the way he described research that was later published in the Lancet medical journal, the GMC said. He had gone against the interests of children in his care, and his conduct brought the medical profession "into disrepute" after he took blood samples from youngsters at his son's birthday party in return for payments of £5.

The doctor, who was absent from today's GMC hearing, faces being struck off the medical register. The panel decided the allegations against him could amount to serious professional misconduct, an issue to be decided at a later date.
Wakefield said he was dismayed at the panel's decision. "The allegations against me and against my colleagues are both unfounded and unjust ... and I invite anyone to examine the contents of these proceedings and come to their own conclusion."
The panel chairman, Dr Surendra Kumar, was heckled by parents who support Wakefield as he delivered the verdicts.
One woman shouted: "These doctors have not failed our children. You are outrageous." She called the panel of experts "bastards" and accused the GMC of being a "kangaroo court". Another shouted: "This is a set-up."
In the late 1990s Wakefield and two other doctors said they believed they had uncovered a link between the MMR jab, bowel disease and autism. The research caused a big drop in the number of children given the triple jab for measles, mumps and rubella.
The hearing has sat for 148 days over two and a half years and reportedly cost more than £1m. A total of 36 witnesses gave evidence at the hearing.
The accusations relate to investigations for the study, based on 12 youngsters with bowel disorders, carried out between 1996 and 1998. At the time all three doctors were employed at the Royal Free hospital's medical school in London, with honorary clinical contracts hospital itself.
The GMC heard that vulnerable children were subjected to "inappropriate and invasive" tests by the doctors, who breached of "some of the most fundamental rules in medicine".
Wakefield did not have paediatric qualifications and had not worked as a clinical doctor for several years when he ordered the tests, the panel was told.
One of the key claims was that Wakefield accepted more than £50,000 from the Legal Aid Board for research to support a group of parents' attempts to fight for compensation.
It was alleged Wakefield applied for money so that five children and their families could stay in hospital during tests and for MRI scans for each child.
The money was paid into an account at the Royal Free for Wakefield's research, but, the GMC alleged, the cost of scans and hospital stays would have been met by the NHS.
Wakefield was accused of paying children £5 for blood samples at his son's birthday party, then joking about it afterwards.
All three doctors denied the allegations against them.


  1. This is excellent news. Doctors being held accountable for their actions.
    Also, due to the invasive procedures performed on these children, I wonder if Liam Scheff is outraged? I am sure he is outraged, but for Dr. Wakefield and not the children.

  2. One of my blogging habits is to collate pro and con posts on a particular issue. One reason to do is that each blog has its own set of commenters and often the comments reveal aspects of the issue previously not considered elsewhere.

    Today's issue is the UK's General Medical Council's ruling on Andrew Wakefield.

    I've included this post in the list.

    The list can be found at

  3. I'm glad to see this. I wonder what took them so long, however. The damage this idiot did will take a long time to repair. And sadly of course, there will be those that continue to believe what he says simply because it fits with their preconceived beliefs.

  4. Liz Ditz has a great idea for a blog by compiling for and against blogs on issues.
    Regarding this one in particular, those in favor of the decision against Wakefield far outweigh those against the decision!
    It's nice to see some logical, fairminded people still exist. After a year of dealing with AIDS Denialists I started to wonder!

  5. OK, I am back.
    Been slow to post comments because I was in South Africa the past 2 weeks. Things are much better there om the AIDS front. Mbeki and Manto's damage persists, but it is getting better. ARV clinics are everywhere now and the King of the Zulu's just announced his support for male circumcision for HIV prevention--actually a big deal.

    So the Wakefield story is good news. AIDS Deniers need to be on notice that they too can be (will be) held accountable. Universities need to give scam academics the boot when they abuse the good names of respected institutions to garnish fake credibility...working on that.

  6. Thousands of children are now open to the debilitating effects of measles, mumps and rubella! Thanks, Wakefield!

    Hopefully this will go some way to restoring public opinion of the MMR vaccine, but this entire debacle will always remain as an example of the damage denialism can cause.

  7. About the *Lancet's* retraction: if nothing else,this should give CNN pause before again giving Jenny & Company a podium. I think that the general public will be able to understand Wakefield's "project",MO,and motivation.Of course,those emotionally(and/or financially)invested in the anti-vax agenda will continue to support him, and he'll probably remain employed in Texas, supposedly "directing research".Hopefully,someday his hypotheses will be relegated to the same dusty,crank-invested corner of the internet as are chemtrails,lizard people,the HIV/AIDS UFO connection,etc.Denice Walter

  8. Hi Denice
    Wakefield is an obvious nut case. He is the Peter Duesberg of Autism.

    Any Denialist who wants some real evidence for the failings of peer review, here you go.