Andrew Wakefield, the doctor who was struck off the medical register after triggering a health scare linking autism to the MMR vaccine, is suing the editor-in-chief of the British Medical Journal for defamation.
In a complaint filed to a district court in Texas, lawyers acting for Wakefield claim that articles, editorials and other statements that appeared in the BMJ were "false and make defamatory allegations" about the doctor.
The lawsuit names Fiona Godlee, the BMJ's editor-in-chief, and the British investigative journalist Brian Deer, who has covered the controversy over the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, which led to a drop in MMR vaccination rates to dangerous levels.
Documents filed with the court say the action arises in part from the publication in January 2011 of an article by Deer in the BMJ titled "Secrets of the MMR scare: how the case against the MMR vaccine was fixed" and an accompanying editorial by Godlee.
It is alleged that the articles accuse Wakefield "of fraud and of fraudulently and intentionally manipulating and falsifying data and diagnoses". The case has been filed in Austin, Texas, where Wakefield now lives, because the allegations concern his work there.
In a statement, the BMJ and Deer said they awaited formal service of the papers, but stood by the articles and had instructed lawyers to defend the claim vigorously. Read the full article at The Guardian UK.