Recently there’s been some unusual defence of Andrew Wakefield.
He never wrote a paper claiming vaccines cause autism, offered fans of Meryl Dorey at Woodford. The rationale? To drive home that vaccines do cause autism. You see, the shorthand misconception of Wakefield supporters is that he was found guilty of fraud in publishing a “vaccines cause autism” paper.
It isn’t quite that simple, and through what can only be described as a combination of ignorance and stupidity these blinkered fans now seek to capitalise on their own confusion.
A five member General Medical Council panel found Wakefield guilty of over 30 charges including 12 of causing children to endure “clinically unjustified” invasive testing procedures, buying blood at children’s birthday parties and managing four counts of dishonesty. Then, his “continued lack of insight” into his conduct, and consequences thereof, meant that only “total erasure” from the medical register was warranted.
In short he was an unprofessional crook, guilty of self serving and callous conduct with no insight into the damage he did or the ongoing harm he was causing.
Dorey’s fans insist Brian Deer stitched up Wakefield because Wakefield’s paper includes:
We did not prove an association between measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described
So. The reasoning in the mind of a Dorey fan is:
- Wakefield did not claim a link to autism, therefore the charge of fraud is wrong.
- If the charge of fraud is wrong, then claiming that vaccines cause autism is not fraudulent.
- Due to 2 above, then the claim “vaccines cause autism” is factual.
- Andrew Wakefield is thus doubly correct in that he never committed fraud, but when he was accused of promoting a fraudulent link to autism, due to 2 above he was “set up”.
- Vaccines thus cause autism.
Yet Wakefield did commit fraud in an attempt to manufacture his “autistic entercolitis” (AE), in tampering with histopathology results and in attempting to set up his grand financial empire
Not only would success in creating AE drive class action suits in the USA and the UK, the non-existent syndrome would make Wakefield a pot of gold. Proper diagnoses would be needed. At the expense of pharmaceutical companies, complex immunodiagnostics would be ordered by lawyers acting for the families of those stricken with AE.
Let’s follow the money….
Wakefield was paid £435 643 by Richard Barr’s law firm to create a syndrome to drive class action of anti-vaccination litigants. This was no fluke. In the 1990’s vaccine injury was shaping to be the big one for injury compensation lawyers. In 1996 Richard Barr was already working on his autistic test case – “child 2”. On September 9th the child was subject to what the GMC later found was a “clinically unwarranted” ileocolonoscopy. Although he did not have Crohn’s disease it was assumed he might.
Enter Wakefield’s March 1995 Diagnostic patent that claimed:
Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis may be diagnosed by detecting measles virus in bowel tissue, bowel products or body fluids
In a theme we will see later was Wakefield’s true driving force, an accompanying document proposed setting up a diagnostic company. Wakefield’s scheme suggested that molecular viral diagnostic tests run for clients in the USA and the UK would yield big bucks. In fact it would yield £72.5m per year. The document was an unbridled embellishment of Wakefield’s patented scam and included:
In view of the unique services offered by the Company and its technology, particularly for the molecular diagnostic, the assays can command premium prices […]
The ability of the Company to commercialise its candidate products,” the draft plan continued, “depends upon the extent to which reimbursement for the cost of such products will be available from government health administration authorities, private health providers and, in the context of the molecular diagnostic, the Legal Aid Board.
Despite being paid £150 plus expenses per hour since January 1996 and the reality “child 2” had been enrolled with Barr’s firm for seven months, Wakefield was after Legal Aid.
Here’s where Meryl Dorey’s new breed of Wakefield defenders fail to make first base. Two weeks before selecting his 1st subject for the 12 child study Wakefield co-authored with Richard Barr a letter that included:
Children with enteritis and disintegrative disorder, form part of a new syndrome. The evidence is undeniably in favour of a specific vaccine induced pathology
Nine months before publishing his paper Wakefield had filed for monovalent vaccine patents. A nice addition to his other patent that placed the measles component of MMR as a diagnostic pointer to Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
[Image © Brian Deer]
In the lead up to releasing the paper’s results Wakefield made various copies on tape of how he should announce specifics of his “findings”. In one of these proposed announcements Wakefield states:
There is sufficient anxiety in my own mind for the long term safety of the polyvalent vaccine—that is, the MMR vaccination in combination—that I think it should be suspended in favour of the single vaccines
Having agreed to follow through with a press announcement that would reinforce the safety of MMR and stress his small sample of unverified results did – as the paper’s text stated – “not prove an association between [MMR] and the syndrome described”, Wakefield turned renegade. He argued that parents should consider splitting MMR vaccination into measles, mumps and rubella shots, leaving measles under a cloud. This of course, was a bonus for his hoped for impending single shot patent profits.
In a confidential submission (1999) to the Legal Aid board in his quest to set up Unigenetics, he argued the link b/w MMR and autism had been shown. He scored £800 000 of tax payer funds to conduct PCR tests of dubious pursuit. Within this venture – to be set up in the Republic of Ireland – he would take 37% of the earnings, the scheming parent known as “Number 10” would take 22.2%. A venture capitalist would get 18%. Royal Free’s professor of gastroenterology, Roy Pounder would get 11.7% and Professor John O’Leary another champion of “MMR causes autism” would get 11.1%.
“Carmel Healthcare Ltd” (also registered in the Irish Republic) was to be named after Wakefield’s wife, Carmel.
Wakefield sought to use outmoded and discredited immunodiagnostic methods. Transfer factor, a technique that would purportedly be used for treatment, had been written out of practice. The technique lacked evidence, cost effectiveness and presented an infection risk.
American immunologist Hugh Fudenberg, of the Neuro Immuno Therapeutics foundation was also involved. Brian Deer writes that apart from being under sanction from his local medical board for prescription and use of controlled drugs, he also claimed to be able to cure autism with the above transfer factor. See Why investors might have paused.
Finally problems with the Dublin measles test would later become apparent. Supposed to detect virus from past MMR immunisations the technique gave inconsistent, unreliable results. Because of this method vaccine lawsuits in America and Britain suffered irreversible setbacks.
Brian Deer writes that he was handed a “private and confidential” prospectus 35 pages long, which included:
It is estimated that the initial market for the diagnostic will be litigation driven testing of patients with autistic enterocolitis from both the UK and the USA…”. £700 000 from investors was needed. Mind blowing profits were assured. “It is estimated that by year 3, income from this testing could be about £3 300 000 rising to about £28 000 000 as diagnostic testing in support of therapeutic regimes come on stream.
There was really nothing to diagnose. Count those profits. All from a made up syndrome driving litigation. “Litigation driven testing”. But then how many innocent families would also have been ripped off, lied to and how many others would have used his vaccines?
Of course today we know he forged conclusions from Dr. Amar Dhillon’s intestinal tissue sample grading sheets, to invent Autistic Enterocolitis. Now he is inexplicably trying to plead ignorance, blame Dhillon and thus sue the BMJ with the help of the USA’s version of Australia’s Dr. Brian Martin – “whistleblower” David Lewis.
Walker-Smith’s abuse of very ill children, at the insistence of Wakefield who continually ordered unnecessary tests, cannot be overstated. All of Walker-Smith’s tests – blood, colonoscopies, ileocolonoscopies returned negative results. Dhillon recorded normal findings. Consultant histopathologist Susan Davies also recorded normal intestinal findings. Also struck off the medical register, Walker-Smith was labelled “irresponsible and unethical”.
Paola Domizio, a consultant histopathologist and professor of pathology education at Queen Mary’s College has since claimed to be “astonished” at the normality of the histology findings. So Wakefield now blames Dhillon as the culprit of fraud. Just as he earlier used Walker-Smith’s presentation to “prove” he did not falsify data. Yet even there we can demonstrate Wakefield to have submitted identical material to the Legal Aid Board on 6 June 1996 – 6 1/2 months before Walker-Smith’s presentation.
It was Wakefield. It was always Wakefield. It will always be Wakefield.
Wakefield’s dishonesty and fraud sought to make him filthy rich. From well before the study began he had the “syndrome” laid out. Months before publication he was setting up his patents. Feel free to go through and add up those income totals. Then visit sham blog Child Health Safety and try to make sense of the autism ramblings peppered there.
So Child Health Safety and Dorey’s new Wakefield converts need to be aware. On at least four different occasions Wakefield claimed MMR did cause autism. He particularly did so when prospecting for capital to run his assumed to be obscenely profitable immunodiagnostic businesses, that specialised in a condition – autistic entercolitis – he had fraudulently invented.
Wakefield’s fraud may well have been done on mundane tissue samples. But he played a cunning side game.
That side game was to ensure people believed that MMR actually did cause autism.