Me Thinks Thou Doth Protest Too Much

Big news this week. Breaking news on CNN and most of the networks. Brian Deer, a British jounalist, has come out with a report that the previous work of Dr. Andrew Wakefield was not only incorrect, it was a fabricated lie!

Here is the concluding paragraph of Dr. Wakefield’s controversial paper: “We have identified a chronic enterocolitis in children that may be related to neuropsychiatric dysfunction. In most cases, onset of symptoms was after measles, mumps, and rubella immunisation. Further investigations are needed to examine this syndrome and its possible relation to this vaccine.” Wakefield, et. al.Copyright. © The Lancet Ltd, 1998. Volume 351(9103), 28 February 1998, pp 637-641

His mention of autism in that paper is only in reference to the pathology of the gut and the possible association with childhood MMR vaccination.

The Editors of The Lancet retracted the article in February of 2010: “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.”

OK, the editors claimed that there were problems with the particulars of the data and so they felt that the paper should be retracted. Ten of the twelve authors also retracted their statements (although faced with loss of my medical license, I would probably have agreed to anything that the government offered). Dr. Wakefield himself has rebuttals to these assertions. But, let’s say for now that EVERYTHING that Dr. Wakefield’s detractors say is CORRECT. Why does Mr. Deer continue to beat this dead horse? Why not provide a little light, instead of so much heat? Why not follow, for example, the lack of quality control by the Glaxo Company and their felony conviction for distributing adulterated drugs. Does anyone really think that these kinds of shenanigans are not continuing? Or, how about Pfizer’s treatment of David Franklin, who complained about his company’s “aggressive tactics” in marketing a potentially dangerous drug? In 2002, the US Department of Justice recovered $1.2 billion in civil damages under the false claim act, of which healthcare awards were the vast majority.

Dear Brian Deer, why have you spent SEVEN years in this endeavor? What do you plan to gain by adding six more articles to your already well-publicized “research”? The polarization is already in place; there are those who believe that vaccines have caused their child’s autism and those who refuse to believe that anything that the drug companies do could be so egregious.

And, by the way, we still don’t know why there is a 600% increase in infantile autism in this century. Maybe you could research that next.

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