What about Dr. Wakefield?

Posted: January 6, 2013 in Autism

Have you ever noticed how when mud-slinging is afoot, the media is all over it – like white on rice.  However, when the tables begin to turn, all you get from big media is the sound of crickets?  I have, and especially noticed this “silent effect” with the controversial hubbub surrounding Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s Autism research in England.

The Controversy

Dr. Wakefield conducted a research study that evaluated 12 children with autism and potentially connected bowel diseases.  He found numerous cases of the measles virus present within the intestines of the tested children.  He research findings discussed the related role of G.I. ailments and Autism.

An English journalist, Brian Deer, in conjunction with the British Medical Journal quickly initiated a smear campaign that assaulted Dr. Wakefield with charges of fraud, misreported information, and poor ethics.  Their negative ravings resulted in the large-scale demise of Dr. Wakefield’s career and ultimately the loss of his license in the country of England due to improper petitioning for his medical study.

If this was not enough, Deer and company also forwarded a press release to media located in Texas to further tarnish his reputation.  As likely expected, the U.S. media lit up like a wildfire in an effort to smear and thwart any possible causation between Autism and the MMR vaccine.

Defamation Lawsuit Filed by Dr. Wakefiled

In answer to Brian Deer’s threat as televised on an interview in 2011, Dr. Wakefield retaliated in an effort to exonerate his name.  Wakefield filed a petition to sue Brian Deer, the British Medical Journal, and the Journal’s editor for defamation of character and misinformation.  He refuted their claims that some of the children possessed developmental delays prior to the administration of the MMR vaccine with quotes from each child’s records.  He also disputed their accusations that he was linking the study results with a confirmation of and MMR/Autism link.  Finally, he provided more evidence that incriminated the Defendants in this case for fraudulent representation of his data, no chance for response, and erroneous fact-checking.  (Read the initial demand letter here.  Read Dr. Wakefield’s original petition to the Texas court.)

It’s Hard to Keep a Good Man Down, but the Goliath’s will Keep Trying

Sadly the case was thrown out due to jurisdiction, but his case is in the process of appeals and many of us will be awaiting the outcome anxiously.  Through his case documentation, it was also revealed that the British Medical Journal was receiving funding from Merck and GlaxoSmithKline two of the largest manufacturers of the MMR vaccine.

The typical response by large manufacturers – whether biotech corporations or pharmaceutical manufacturers – is to discredit and smear any opposition that reveals unfavorable information about their pet products; sadly, as it was with the French scientist Gilles-Eric Séralini, it has also been for Dr. Wakefield.  I hope that their fights will produce the outcome they’re hoping for, so that truth and honor can still win, in the end.

Your Muckraking Maven,

Shel

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