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Old 02-07-2010   #14
Ubi dubium, ibi libertas.
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Re: "Damning verdict on doctor who linked MMR and autism"

From the editors of The Lancet, the journal that originally published Wakefield's paper:
Following the judgment of the UK General Medical Council's Fitness to Practise Panel on Jan 28, 2010, it has become clear that several elements of the 1998 paper by Wakefield et al are incorrect, contrary to the findings of an earlier investigation. In particular, the claims in the original paper that children were “consecutively referred” and that investigations were “approved” by the local ethics committee have been proven to be false. Therefore we fully retract this paper from the published record.
Timeline from, which has a fantastic article on the history of this paper and the anti-vax movement.

Expounded and exposed: the rise and fall of the MMR crisis

October 1988: MMR triple vaccine, containing attenuated live measles, mumps and rubella viruses, is launched in the United Kingdom, after successful use in America since 1971

February 1996: A solicitor, Richard Barr, hires Andrew Wakefield at 150 an hour to support a planned legal attack on MMR jab manufacturers. Not publicly disclosed

June 1996: Wakefield and Barr ask the UK Legal Aid Board for money to show a link between MMR and a "new syndrome" of autism and bowel disease. Not publicly disclosed

July 1996: First autistic child admitted to Royal Free hospital for research project. Of the 12 in the study, most are Barr and campaign contacts, and 11 will turn out to be litigants

June 1997: Wakefield files for a patent on his own supposedly “safer” single measles jab, and for miracle products to treat autism and bowel disease. Not publicly disclosed

February 1998: The Lancet publishes paper proposing link between MMR, and a "syndrome" of autism and bowel disease. Wakefield makes no disclosure of his interests

January 2001: The Daily Mail and other newspapers launch campaigns backing Wakefield after he publishes a “review” of his evidence and [repeats] calls for single vaccines

December 2001: Prime minister Tony Blair is ambushed by Wakefield supporters with allegations that his youngest son, Leo, did not have MMR. The claim turns out to be untrue

January 2003: Vaccination among two-year-olds falls to 78.9%: below the 92% needed to protect the population. Figures in parts of inner London are half the national rates

February 2004: The Sunday Times reveals Andrew Wakefield’s legal funding and the children’s litigant status. The revelations are greeted by a media firestorm and public anger

February 2004: Dr Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, describes the original February 1998 paper as “fatally flawed” and apologises for publishing it in the journal

March 2004: Ten of the 1998 Lancet paper’s 13 authors, excluding Wakefield, retract their previous claim of possible MMR-autism link set out in its conclusions, or "interpretation"

November 2004: Brian Deer's Channel 4 investigation reveals Wakefield’s single vaccine patent claims and commercial interests, and that measles was not found in the children

March 2005: Scientists reveal that, after MMR was discontinued in Japan, the incidence of reported autism continued to rise at a similar rate to countries using the three-in-one

April 2006: The Sunday Times reports that a 13-year-old boy had become the first person in the UK in 14 years to die from measles. Meanwhile, measles outbreaks rage

July 2007: GMC opens professional misconduct case against Wakefield and two other Royal Free colleagues concerning ethical issues over the treatment of the Lancet children

February 2009: The Sunday Times reveals data fixing behind the Lancet paper. Wakefield denies research fraud and files a complaint with the UK Press Complaints Commission

February 2009: Three test case judgments for 5,000 claims are handed down in US federal court rejecting the allegation that MMR can cause autism, and lambasting Wakefield

January 2010: GMC gives devastating findings from its professional misconduct hearing for Wakefield, John Walker-Smith and Simon Murch over ethical and publication issues

February 2010: The Lancet retracts Wakefield's 1998 MMR-autism research paper. The journal's editor describes aspects of it as "utterly false", and said he "felt deceived"
Fudging results for a lawsuit and a patent. Fantastic.

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