In attempt to go after the enormous drug companies by a particular law firm, a British study was created and financed by the law firm. It was structured in such a way so it could link autism to childhood vaccines in its conclusion. This in turn, damaged the integrity of peer-review standards which have been a concern by scientists because the standards present serious errors which need to be reformed. CNN calls the British study an “elaborate fraud”.
“An investigation published by the British medical journal BMJ concludes the study’s author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study — and that there was “no doubt” Wakefield was responsible.
“It’s one thing to have a bad study, a study full of error, and for the authors then to admit that they made errors,” Fiona Godlee, BMJ’s editor-in-chief, told CNN. “But in this case, we have a very different picture of what seems to be a deliberate attempt to create an impression that there was a link by falsifying the data.”
Was 670,000 worth decieving the public? Wakefield seem to think so. His fraudulent paper had put the public’s health at great risk with his elaborate scheme because parents became very concerned about their children taking vaccines so they withheld their kids from taking the necessary shots. Data shows the vaccination rates dropped quite a bit when the paper was published, falling to a staggering low of 80% by 2004.
As a result of kids not taking their shots, an increase of cases followed which included measles popping up in the United States and 90 percent of the kids inflected did not get their vaccines with part of that percentage being unknown. Questions began to surface as Wakefield could not replicate his results. His peers began withdrawing their endorsements from his study in 2004 because he purposely avoided to mention his conflict of interest (being paid by a law firm).
Wakefield played the victim and then went on the offensive claiming anyone who questioned his conclusions where working for pharmaceutical interests rather than the general public. One journalist by the name of David Kirby even defended him, “I personally find it hard to believe that he did that.” Britain has since taken away Wakefield’s medical license last May and now all this is coming to light in the mainstream media. “Meanwhile, the damage to public health continues, fueled by unbalanced media reporting and an ineffective response from government, researchers, journals and the medical profession”.
The good news is, the fraud has been exposed (just like climate gate) and kids should continue to get their vaccinations. Perhaps people will take a closer look at peer-review standards and punishments on this level should be severe when committing such fraud especially when it affects such things as the health of the public!