Report Alleges Money Motivated Doctor Behind Autism-Vaccine Scare
The disgraced doctor who published a study more than 10 years ago claiming that a common childhood vaccine — the measles-mumps-rubella inoculation — causes autism may have been motivated more by money than conviction, investigators say.
According to the second in a three-part investigative series in the medical journal BMJ, Dr. Andrew Wakefield was retained by a lawyer seeking to extract money from vaccine manufacturers as his research was just beginning. He also allegedly applied for a patent for an alternative vaccine, set up a business to profit from that vaccine as well as diagnostic kits and other products, and worked with the Royal Free Medical School in London on these business ventures.
“It’s horrible that institutions may have been involved and that this [may have been] a planned action,” said Keith A. Young, vice chair for research in the department of psychiatry and behavioral science at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and core leader for neuroimaging and genetics at the Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans in Temple. “It looks like it was aimed pretty much at making money.”
The first part of the investigation, published last week in the journal, accused Wakefield of forming his hypothesis before he even began to collect data, then doctoring that data to suit his theory and even stating that children in the trial had the regressive form of autism when, in fact, most did not.