Truth is a hard game and when people start admitting it you scarcely know where it might end. Today, the BBC and the United Kingdom Department of Health tacitly admitted that a key finding of the GMC hearing against doctors Wakefield, Walker-Smith and Murch was false, to wit that the Wakefield Lancet paper of 1998 was identical to a study commissioned by the Legal Aid Board: with that finding out of the way – dismissed as it was Mr Justice Mitting in the High Court in the appeal of Prof John Walker-Smith – then many of the other accusations against all three doctors crumble to dust.
This is the wording of the BBC report:
Dr Wakefield's study considered whether there was a link between the three-in-one MMR vaccine and autism and bowel disease.
It focused on tests carried out on 12 children who had been referred to hospital for gastrointestinal problems.
Dr Wakefield was also paid to carry out another study at the same time to find out if parents who claimed their children were damaged by the MMR vaccine had a case. Some children were involved in both studies.
However, this study was not the abandoned one that the GMC panel insisted on in its findings:
The Panel has heard that ethical approval had been sought and granted for other trials and it has been specifically suggested that Project 172-96 was never undertaken and that in fact, the Lancet 12 children’s investigations were clinically indicated and the research parts of those clinically justified investigations were covered by Project 162- 95. In the light of all the available evidence, the Panel rejected this proposition.
Obscenely, the GMC panel deliberated for three years over this falsehood and yet such is justice that it has only been over-turned in the case of one of the doctors. However, it really is time that the manufacturers of these official deceits started answering questions. For instance, why - if MMR was safe - were such disgusting perversions necessary to protect its reputation?
John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.