Did the Ethics Practices Committee of the Royal Free Hospital NHS approve Dr. Wakefield and colleagues' proposal for research biopsies to be conducted on children which ultimately resulted in publication by the Lancet?
YES . The Ethical Practices Committee of the Royal Free Hospital NHS Trust approved proposal # 162-95 before any biopsies were collected for the case study on the Lancet 12.
Was the 1998 Lancet article based on a research study or a case study?
The Lancet article was based on a case study. Case studies do not have control groups.
Did the 1998 Lancet case report say that the MMR vaccine causes autism?
NO. The Lancet case report reads, "We did not prove an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome (autistic enterocolitis) described." The Lancet case report ends with a call for additional research. "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."
If the Lancet case report did not say MMR vaccine causes autism, what did some of the co-authors partially retract in 2004?
Nothing. Some of the original co-authors partially retracted an interpretation despite the fact that it never existed in the case report.
The co-author's partial retraction reads, "We wish to make it clear that in this paper no causal link was established between MMR vaccine and autism as the data were insufficient. However, the possibility of such a link was raised and consequent events have had major implications for public health. In view of this, we consider now is the appropriate time that we should together formally retract the interpretation placed upon these findings in the paper, according to precedent."
Again, the original case report itself never interpreted the data as establishing a causal link between MMR and autism, so there was no "causal" interpretation to retract.
If the Lancet case report did not say MMR causes autism, and if his collection of biopsies for research purposes was pre-approved by the Ethical Practices Committee, why is there a case against Dr. Wakefield (and colleagues)?
Medical authorities in the UK (and the United States) do not like it when licensed medical professionals ask questions about vaccine safety. Licensed medical professionals and medical researchers who question vaccine safety are more difficult to dismiss than parents who notice adverse reactions after vaccination.
The prosecution of Dr. Wakefield, Professor Walker-Smith and Professor Murch is an example and warning to other licensed medical professionals and researchers. The warning is clear: if you question the safety of a vaccine, you put your license and career at risk.
Does industry have anything to gain by prosecuting Dr. Wakefield, Professor Walker-Smith and Professor Murch?
Yes, possibly. Industry may use the prosecution of Dr. Wakefield and colleagues in an effort to argue that the MMR vaccine is safe. Merck manufactures both MMR vaccine and Proquad vaccine. In 2009, Merck eliminated the option of single dose Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccines when they announced they are discontinuing the manufacture of those monovalent vaccines. Now that the single dose option is no longer available, Merck's would benefit if the public perceived MMR's 3-live-viruses-in-1-shot as a safe option for customers wary of Merck's new 4-live-viruses-in-1-shot Proquad.
Additionally, in internal emails regarding Vioxx in Australia, Merck employees discuss"destroying" doctors critical of their products "where they live". MMR is a Merck product. Dr. Wakefield, Professor Walker-Smith and Professor Murch all lived in the UK at the time this study was conducted.
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