UK newspaper The Sunday Times claims they have evidence that Dr Andrew Wakefield, the doctor who sparked the scare over the safety of the MMR vaccine, changed and misreported results in his research.

The 1998 paper which was published in the Lancet signalled the beginning of the anti-vacc movement and is considered responsible for a 12% decrease in the vaccination rate in the UK. Wakefield is being investigated for serious professional misconduct along with John Walker-Smith and Simon Murch, two professors who contributed to the research. All three have denied any wrongdoing.

Andrew Wakefield attends the hearing in 2008, flanked by his wife and supporters displaying placards.

Andrew Wakefield attends the hearing in 2008, flanked by his wife and supporters displaying placards.

An investigation, begun in July 2008 by the General Medical Council in the UK accused the three of acting dishonestly and unethically in compiling the research, which suggested there could be a link between the triple jab, bowel disease and autism. However, it has since been revealed that Dr Wakefield allegedly paid children £5 to take their blood at his son’s fifth birthday party.

One of the key claims is that Dr Wakefield accepted £50,000 for research to support parents’ attempts to fight for compensation. Among the 46 allegations, Dr Wakefield was accused of allowing one patient – Child 10 – to be given an experimental drug, “Transfer Factor”, with a view to it becoming a measles vaccine. Further, he admitted being involved in proposals in 1998 to set up a company – Immunospecifics Biotechnologies Ltd – to manufacture the drug, with the intention that the father of Child 10 become its managing director.

He also admitted proposing that the equity in the company would be split between himself, as its research director, the father and other parties.

The Sunday Times investigation by Brian Deer, claims to have confirmed evidence presented to the General Medical Council (GMC), which states that:

“In most of the 12 cases, the children’s ailments as described in The Lancet were different from their hospital and GP records. Although the research paper claimed that problems came on within days of the jab, in only one case did medical records suggest this was true, and in many of the cases medical concerns had been raised before the children were vaccinated. Hospital pathologists, looking for inflammatory bowel disease, reported in the majority of cases that the gut was normal. This was then reviewed and the Lancet paper showed them as abnormal”.

Even if it is revealed that Wakefield faked the data, it is unlikely to end the anti-vacc movement. THe case continues. We wait with baited breath to see the outcome.

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