This retraction really isn’t any new earth-shattering news. Just another chapter in a terrible saga.
(CNN) — The medical journal The Lancet on Tuesday retracted a controversial 1998 paper that linked the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism.
The 12-year-old study linked autism with the MMR vaccine. The research subsequently had been discredited.
Last week, the study’s lead author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, was found to have acted unethically in conducting the research.
The General Medical Council, which oversees doctors in Britain, said that “there was a biased selection of patients in The Lancet paper” and that his “conduct in this regard was dishonest and irresponsible.”
A September 2008 study replicated key parts of Wakefield’s original paper and found no evidence that the vaccine had a connection to either autism or GI disorders. The study, conducted at Columbia University, Massachusetts General Hospital and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also found no relationship between the timing of the vaccine and children getting GI disorders or autism.
The Wakefield study also became part of the evidence that parents cited who did not vaccinate their children.
“The story became credible because it was published in The Lancet,” Alison Singer, president of the Autism Science Foundation, said Tuesday. “It was in The Lancet, and we really rely on these medical journals.”
Singer, the mother of a child with autism, added, “That study did a lot of harm. People became afraid of vaccinations — this is the Wakefield legacy — this unscientifically grounded fear of vaccinations that result in children dying from vaccine preventable diseases.“
Retractions are rare in medical journals and usually occur as a result of fraud or plagiarism, said Marcia Angell, a former editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.
So kids got measles, mumps and rubella and some may have died because they didn’t take the vaccine based on a study that was so rife with errors that a medical journal had to pull the article.
My question is, why would a doctor fabricate a study like this? Brian Deer finds out:
ANDREW WAKEFIELD, the former surgeon whose campaign linking the MMR vaccine with autism caused a collapse in immunisation rates, was paid more than £400,000 by lawyers trying to prove that the vaccine was unsafe.
Yowza! So it was all about the money!! By the way, it wasn’t just Wakefield. He had all his cronies feeding from the trough too.
Meanwhile, China shows how to properly deal with the kind of person that would put his own personal gain above the health of society.
China executes ex-head of food and drug agency: Zheng sentenced to death in May for taking bribes to OK substandard drugs
I mean, what’s the difference? Taking bribes to approve substandard drugs that would have kept people from dying had the drugs been real? Or taking bribes from plaintiffs’ lawyers to proclaim a life-saving drug is unsafe, causing patients to get sick and perhaps die unnecessarily?
Andrew, you’re lucky you don’t live in China.
P.S. – The CNN article at the top of this post sure is a heck of a lot better than that earlier one.