Andrew Wakefield - the fraud investigation


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Exposed: Andrew Wakefield
and the MMR-autism fraud

Brian Deer's award-winning investigation

With revelations spread over more than a decade, between late 2003 and 2017 Brian Deer pursued a landmark public interest investigation for The Sunday Times of London, the United Kingdom's Channel 4 Television network and BMJ, the British Medical Journal, into allegations linking the three-in-one measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) with claims of a terrifying new syndrome of bowel and brain damage in children. These allegations led to a decade-long health crisis in the UK, and sparked epidemics of fear, guilt and infectious disease, which would be exported to the United States and other developed countries, spawning every kind of concern over vaccinations.

Almost incredibly, the trigger for what became a worldwide controversy over vaccine safety was a single scientific research paper published in a medical journal - the Lancet - in February 1998. Written by a then-41-year-old academic researcher, Andrew Wakefield, and co-authored by a dozen associates, it reported on the cases of 12 anonymous children with apparent brain disorders who had been admitted to a paediatric bowel unit at the Royal Free hospital in Hampstead, north London, between July 1996 and February 1997.

Backed by an extraordinary video news-release and press conference, the five-page paper’s claims provoked substantial media interest, and were followed by a sustained onslaught against the vaccine. This included further publications by Wakefield criticising MMR, and led to an unprecedented collapse in public confidence in the shot, which, since the late 1980s in the UK and the early 1970s in the US, for examples, has been routinely given to children soon after they are one year old, almost eradicating measles and rubella from developed countries.

The prime cause of the alarm was findings in the paper claiming that the parents of two thirds of the 12 children blamed MMR for the sudden onset of what was described as a combination of both an inflammatory bowel disease and what Wakefield called "regressive autism", in which language and basic skills were said to have been lost. Most disturbingly, the first behavioural symptoms were reported to have appeared within only 14 days of the shot.

Although the research involved only a dozen children, and its results have never been replicated, many medical breakthroughs have begun with small-scale observations, and, if true, Wakefield's findings might have been the first snapshot of a hidden epidemic of devastating injuries. "It's a moral issue for me," he announced at the 1998 press conference, where he called for a boycott of the triple MMR in favour of breaking it up into single measles, mumps and rubella shots, to be given at yearly intervals. "I can't support the continued use of these three vaccines, given in combination until this issue has been resolved."

As the doctor campaigned, UK vaccination rates slumped: below the level needed to keep measles at bay. Even Tony Blair became embroiled in the controversy when Wakefield supporters suggested - the Blairs say wrongly - that the prime minister’s youngest son was not vaccinated with MMR. Meanwhile in America, a ferocious anti-vaccine movement took off after Wakefield toured US autism conferences and, in November 2000, appeared on the CBS network's 60 Minutes programme linking MMR with what he called an "epidemic of autism". This was followed by campaigners' claims that all vaccines are suspect: either due to their content, or because of the number given to children.

"In 1983 the shot schedule was ten. That's when autism was one in 10,000. Now there's 36, and autism is one in 150," argued American actress Jenny McCarthy, who blamed MMR for her own son’s autism, and gained the highest profile in the US movement. "All arrows point to one direction."

Andrew Wakefield's role unmasked

But as journalists queued to report on parents' fears, Brian Deer was assigned to investigate the crisis, and unearthed a scandal of astounding proportions. He discovered that, far from being based on any findings, the public alarm had no scientific basis whatsoever. Rather, Wakefield had been secretly payrolled to create evidence against the shot and, while planning extraordinary business schemes meant to profit from the scare, he had concealed, misreported and changed information about the children to rig the results published in the journal.

Before Deer’s inquiries, Wakefield had appeared to all the world to be an independent, if controversial, researcher. Tall and square-headed, with hooded eyes and a booming voice, he was the son of doctors (a neurologist and a family practitioner), had grown up in Bath, a prosperous west-of-England spa town, and joined the Royal Free in November 1988 after training in Toronto, Canada. His demeanour was languid - he was privately educated - and, born in 1956, he was a lingering example of the presumed honour of the upper middle class.

But Deer's investigation - nominated in February 2011 for two British Press Awards - discovered that, while Wakefield held himself out to be a dispassionate scientist, two years before the Lancet paper was published - and before any of the 12 children were even referred to the hospital - he had been hired to attack MMR by a lawyer, Richard Barr: a jobbing solicitor in the small eastern English town of King's Lynn, who hoped to raise a speculative class action lawsuit against drug companies which manufactured the triple shot.

Unlike expert witnesses, who give professional advice and opinions, Wakefield had negotiated an unprecedented contract with Barr, then aged 48, to conduct clinical and scientific research. The goal was to find evidence of what the two men claimed to be a "new syndrome", intended to be the centrepiece of (later failed) litigation on behalf of an eventual 1,600 British families, recruited through media stories. This publicly undisclosed role for Wakefield created the grossest conflict of interest, and the exposure of it by Deer, in February 2004, led to public uproar in Britain, the retraction of the Lancet report's conclusions section, and, from July 2007 to May 2010, the longest-ever professional misconduct hearing by the UK's General Medical Council (GMC).

Barr [audio] paid the doctor with money from the UK legal aid fund: run by the government to give poorer people access to justice. Wakefield charged at the extraordinary rate of 150 an hour - billed through a company of his wife's - eventually totalling, for generic work alone, what the UK Legal Services Commission, pressed by Deer under the freedom of information act, said was 435,643 (then about $750,000 US), plus expenses. These hourly fees - revealed in The Sunday Times in December 2006 - gave the doctor a direct personal, but undeclared, financial interest in his research claims: totalling more than eight times his reported annual salary and creating an incentive not only for him to launch the alarm, but to keep it going for as long as possible.

In addition to the personal payments, Wakefield was awarded an initial 55,000, which he had applied for in June 1996, but which, like the hourly fees, he never declared to the Lancet as he should have done, for the express purpose of conducting the research later submitted to the journal. This start-up funding was part of a staggering 26.2m of taxpayers' money (more than $56m US at 2014 prices) eventually shared among a small group of doctors and lawyers, working under Barr's and Wakefield's direction, trying to prove that MMR caused the previously unheard-of "syndrome". Yet more surprising, Wakefield had asserted the existence of such a syndrome - which allegedly included what he would dub "autistic enterocolitis" - before he performed the research which purportedly discovered it.

This Barr-Wakefield deal was the foundation of the vaccine crisis, both in Britain and throughout the world. "I have mentioned to you before that the prime objective is to produce unassailable evidence in court so as to convince a court that these vaccines are dangerous," the lawyer reminded the doctor in a confidential letter, six months before the Lancet report.

And, if this was not enough to cast doubt on the research's objectivity, The Sunday Times investigation unearthed another shocking conflict of interest. In June 1997 - nearly nine months before the press conference at which Wakefield called for single vaccines - he had filed a patent on products, including his own supposedly "safer" single measles vaccine, which only stood any prospect of success if confidence in MMR was damaged. Although Wakefield denied any such plans, his proposed shot, and a network of companies intended to raise venture capital for purported inventions - including "a replacement for attenuated viral vaccines", commercial testing kits and what he claimed to be a possible "complete cure" for autism - were set out in confidential documents.

One Wakefield business was awarded 800,000 from the legal aid fund on the strength of (later discredited) data which he had co-authored. And, even as the Lancet paper was being prepared, behind the scenes he was negotiating extraordinary plans to exploit the public alarm with secret schemes that would line his pockets. "Disgraced doctor Andrew Wakefield plotted to make 28 million a year from the MMR jab panic he triggered," was how the British tabloid newspaper The Sun, for example, reported in January 2011 on this late disclosure from Deer.

Behind the veil of confidentiality

As with the researcher, so too with his subjects. They also were not what they appeared to be. In the Lancet, the 12 children (11 boys and one girl) had been held out as merely a routine series of kids with developmental disorders and digestive symptoms, needing care from the London hospital. That so many of their parents blamed problems on one common vaccine, understandably, caused public concern. But Deer discovered that nearly all the children (aged between 2 and 9) had been pre-selected through MMR campaign groups, and that, at the time of their admission, most of their parents were clients and contacts of the lawyer, Barr. None of the 12 lived in London. Two were brothers. Two attended the same doctor's office, 280 miles from the Royal Free. Three were patients at another clinic. One was flown in from the United States.

The investigation revealed, moreover, that the paper's incredible purported finding - of a sudden onset of autism within days of vaccination - was a sham: laundering into medical literature, as apparent facts, the unverified, vague - and sometimes altered - memories and assertions of a group of unnamed parents who, unknown to the journal and its readers, were bound to blame MMR when they came to the hospital because that was why they had been brought there. Wakefield, a former trainee gut surgeon, denied this. But the true number of families accusing MMR wasn't eight, as the paper said: it was 11 of the 12 (later all 12) and in most cases records noted parents' compensation claims before the children were referred.

"Mum taking her to Dr Wakefield, Royal Free Hospital for CT scans/gut biopsies," wrote one family doctor in the north-east of England, for example, before referring the only little girl in the project (who did not have inflammatory bowel disease). "?Crohn’s—will need ref letter—Dr W to phone me. Funded through legal aid."

In the light of such discoveries, the case was overwhelming to dig deeper into Wakefield's findings. In an exercise never before accomplished by a journalist, Deer was able to exploit the GMC hearing to go behind the face of the 1998 paper, identify the subjects, and access patient data. Penetrating veils of medical and legal confidentiality, he discovered that the hospital's clinicians and pathology service had found nothing to implicate MMR, but that Wakefield had repeatedly changed, misreported and misrepresented diagnoses, histories and descriptions of the children, which made it appear that the syndrome had been discovered.

As first revealed in The Sunday Times in February 2009, the effect was to give the impression of a link between MMR, bowel disease and the sudden onset of autism when otherwise none was evident. Standard, but unreported, blood tests for inflammation in the children were normal. And what the hospital's clinicians and pathology service actually found in the children's guts was severe constipation, with predominantly normal [table] biopsies and benign or normal features. When taken together with developmental histories and diagnoses, moreover, not one case was free of critical mismatches between the paper which launched the vaccine crisis and the kids' contemporaneous records. Some children were a cause for concern before vaccination. Some were deemed normal months afterwards. Some did not have autism at all.

"If my son really is Patient 11, then the Lancet article is simply an outright fabrication," said the father of the penultimate child in the series - admitted to the Royal Free, at age 5, from northern California and whose history was falsely reported in the paper.

Children's protections sidelined

In addition to finding that the study had been rigged, the investigation uncovered a raft of further issues, including irregularities in ethical supervision. Research on patients is governed by national and international standards - particularly the Helsinki declaration - and no reputable hospital review board would have endorsed the kind of fishing expedition Wakefield embarked on for Barr. Without that endorsement, moreover, no reputable medical journal would have published any resulting paper. Against that background, to satisfy the Lancet's patient-protection requirements, but without revealing to hospital authorities what was really going on, Wakefield falsely reported that a gruelling five-day battery of invasive and distressing procedures performed on the kids - including anaesthesia, ileocolonoscopies, lumbar punctures, MRI brain scans, EEGs, radioactive drinks and x-rays - proposed for the lawsuit, was approved by the Royal Free's ethics committee.

But Deer revealed that, despite the research being executed on the uniquely vulnerable, developmentally challenged children of sometimes distraught parents hoping for money, the ethics committee was not told the truth about the project, and had given no such approval. Responding to Deer in 2004, Wakefield and his key associates, paediatricians John Walker-Smith and Simon Murch, denied this explosive discovery and issued a formal statement. But, after being confronted with the proof at the GMC hearing, they changed their story and - despite clear rules - now argued they needed no approval.

The investigation also probed Wakefield's basic science. The story was much the same. He had obtained the legal money and planned his business ventures against a theory of his own that the culprit for both inflammatory bowel disease and autism was persistent infection with measles virus, which is found live as a normal part of MMR. But Deer revealed on Channel 4 that sophisticated, unreported, molecular tests carried out in Wakefield's own lab had found no trace of measles in the children's guts and blood. Those tests were among a string which found no evidence of the virus. The Sunday Times also disclosed critical flaws in one apparently positive study, which involved materials supplied by Wakefield. This had misled thousands of families affected by autism, both in the UK and the US, ensnared for years in hopeless litigation based almost entirely on his measles theory.

Deer (who in April 2006 reported the first British measles death in 14 years) took no view on whether vaccines may or may not cause autism, but never found any scientific material which repeated the Lancet findings. Although all kinds of children, including those with autism, suffer from digestive issues, he learnt of a mass of authoritative research which rebutted Wakefield's claims. "Specifically, numerous studies have refuted Andrew Wakefield’s theory that MMR vaccine is linked to bowel disorders and autism," was how the American Academy of Pediatrics summarised the consensus in an August 2009 statement to NBC News for a Dateline programme [video] featuring both Wakefield and Deer. "Every aspect of Dr Wakefield’s theory has been disproven."

The impact of the investigation has been felt around the world, with media coverage from New Zealand [audio] to Canada [video]. In the UK, the revelations prompted a 2004 statement by the prime minister, a collapse in the anti-MMR campaign, and a rebound in vaccination levels. In the US - where the Barr-Wakefield deal was joined by allegations marshalled by American attorneys that a mercury-based vaccine preservative, thimerosal, was also at fault - findings by Deer were presented by the Department of Justice in federal court, followed in February 2009 by scathing judgments. After hearing a test case of petitions from some 5,000 families, one presiding judge said: "Therefore, it is a noteworthy point that not only has that 'autistic enterocolitis' theory not been accepted into gastroenterology textbooks, but that theory, and Dr Wakefield’s role in its development, have been strongly criticized as constituting defective or fraudulent science."

Wakefield campaign denies everything

In response to Deer, Wakefield supporters denied that he took money for research, and, amid a barrage of sometimes paid-for smears and crank abuse of the journalist, lauded the doctor as a "hero". But the father-of-four's deceits had not only triggered the resurgence of sometimes fatal or brain-disabling measles outbreaks, plunged countless parents into the hell of believing it was their own fault for agreeing to vaccination that a son or daughter had developed autism, and misled an ethics committee over child rights and safety, but it was discovered that he had gone as far as to betray a vaccine safety whistleblower whose identity he discovered [video] and had bought blood from children as young as four years old, attending a birthday party, and then joked about them crying, fainting and vomiting. [video]

Meanwhile, Wakefield denied any conflicts of interest and claimed he never even said that MMR caused autism. But documents - including patents - evidenced his claims, and he published a string of further falsified reports to undermine the vaccine. Even when he knew that his allegations had been proven baseless, he was found promoting them from a controversial business in Austin, Texas, called Thoughtful House, where - after being fired from the Royal Free in October 2001, following his refusal to repeat the Lancet study with a larger number of children - he held a $280,000-a-year post, spun from his campaign.

Throughout the investigation, Wakefield refused to co-operate, filed baseless complaints and issued statements denying every aspect. He also initiated, sought to stall and then abandoned with some 1.3m ($2m) costs, a two-year "gagging" libel lawsuit, financed by the Medical Protection Society, which defends doctors against their patients. In reply, Deer and Channel 4 pressed for a speedy trial, publicly accusing Wakefield of being "unremittingly evasive and dishonest". His conduct in the litigation was also damned by a High Court judge, who said that Wakefield "wished to extract whatever advantage he could from the existence of the proceedings while not wishing to progress them", and that the doctor was using the lawsuit as "a weapon in his attempts to close down discussion and debate over an important public issue".

Lancet paper retracted and doctor ousted

Faced with overwhelming proof of misconduct, Wakefield would concoct a preposterous conspiracy theory [video] to account for his exposure, and denied rigging his results. "The notion that any researcher can cook such data in any fashion that can be slipped past the medical community for his personal benefit is patent nonsense," he argued in a March 2009 statement. "Scientific rigor requires repeatability for verification of any research and Mr Deer's implications of fraud against me are claims that a trained physician and researcher of good standing had suddenly decided he was going to fake data for his own enrichment."

But on 28 January 2010 - after 197 days of evidence, submissions and deliberations - a panel of three doctors and two lay members hearing the GMC case handed down verdicts which wholly vindicated Deer. Branding Wakefield "dishonest", "unethical" and "callous", they found him guilty (against a criminal standard of proof) of some three dozen charges, including four of counts of dishonesty and 12 involving the abuse of developmentally-challenged children. His research was found to be dishonest and performed without ethical approval. Five days later, the Lancet fully retracted the paper from the scientific literature as "utterly false", prompting international media interest and further retractions.

"What is indisputable is that vaccines protect children from dangerous diseases," said The New York Times, in one of a string of editorials in leading newspapers. "We hope that The Lancet’s belated retraction will finally lay this damaging myth about autism and vaccines to rest."

Three weeks later, on 17 February 2010, Wakefield was ousted by the directors of his Texas business, and on 24 May - day 217 of the GMC hearing - he was ordered to be erased from the UK doctors' register, ending his career in medicine. On 21 December 2010, that erasure was confirmed after he abandoned a court appeal against the verdicts.

Medical journal calls the fraud

Critically, in January 2011, BMJ, the British Medical Journal, reported the investigation with a three-week package of disclosures and editorials, including three major reports by Deer: How the case against the MMR vaccine was fixed, How the vaccine crisis was meant to make money and The Lancet's two days to bury bad news. The package (which involved peer-review and separate editorial checking of key evidence and documents) also included an introduction by Deer, Piltdown medicine, explaining the fraud and comparing it with Britain's most notorious scientific forgery. In editorials, the BMJ called Wakefield's research "an elaborate fraud" and accused the Royal Free medical school and the Lancet of "institutional and editorial misconduct".

Among hundreds of media reports worldwide on the BMJ revelations - which were covered by all north American networks and reached almost half of Americans surveyed days later in a Harris poll - The New York Times said in a second editorial on the affair: "Now the British Medical Journal has taken the extraordinary step of publishing a lengthy report by Brian Deer, the British investigative journalist who first brought the paper's flaws to light - and has put its own reputation on the line by endorsing his findings."

Three months later, Deer's personal journey reached a turning point when in April 2011 he was named specialist journalist of the year in the British newspaper industry's annual Pulitzer-style Press Awards. Judges for the Society of Editors praised what they called his "outstanding perseverance, stamina and revelation on a story of major importance". They said of his investigation: "It was a tremendous righting of a wrong".

See the stories listed | Tables: Lancet paper analysed

Invite Brian Deer to speak at your event

Hear the story of the vaccine scare, and how an investigative journalist unmasked the elaborate scientific fraud which lay at its heart

Contact Brian

Brian Deer's 2004 film, MMR - What they didn't tell you, is online. This was produced at an early stage of the investigation

Sunday Times front page   A selection of Brian Deer's stories
which exposed Andrew Wakefield
and shattered a decade-long scare

Left & first below: 22 February 2004
Second below: 14 November 2004





Above left: 18 June 2006
Above right: 31 December 2006

Left & below: 8 February 2009


10 April 2011: The Sunday Times announces Deer's second Press Award

Above: Deer's 2004 TV investigation, MMR - What they didn't tell you

  January 2011: BMJ special series
"Secrets of the MMR scare"

Concluding Deer's investigation of Andrew Wakefield and the MMR crisis, BMJ, the British Medical Journal, published a special series of major reports over three weeks in January 2011.

The series, titled "Secrets of the MMR scare", led to intense worldwide media reporting and discussion as the editors of the journal dubbed the origins of the vaccine scare to be "an elaborate fraud".

Go to Secrets of the MMR scare

  5 April 2011: Deer is named specialist journalist of the year in the British Press Awards. He is presented with the award by Sky News anchor Anna Botting at the Savoy Hotel, London. The judges commended "a tremendous righting of a wrong". More details


  Nailed: Upon publication of Deer's first report in the BMJ series "Secrets of the MMR scare", on 5 January 2011, CNN's Anderson Cooper leads the US media in the biggest-ever story about the vaccine. Tracked to a $550-a-night villa resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Wakefield skulks behind a barrage of extraordinary lies.

  Reply: The following night, Cooper, in New York, interviews Deer in London. Deer rebuts Wakefield's fictions, explains how the investigation came about and reveals his anxiety: the harm Wakefield caused to families of children with autism.

  CNN worldwide: On 6 January 2011, Deer is interviewed by Zain Verjee for the US news network's international audience, rebutting an extraordinary campaign of deceit launched by Wakefield.

The fraud exposed: selected press comment in January 2011

Autism Fraud

"Now the British Medical Journal has taken the extraordinary step of publishing a lengthy report by Brian Deer, the British investigative journalist who first brought the paper’s flaws to light — and has put its own reputation on the line by endorsing his findings.

"After seven years of studying medical records and interviewing parents and doctors, Mr. Deer concluded that the medical histories of all 12 children had been misrepresented to make the vaccine look culpable. Time lines, for example, were fudged to make it seem as though autismlike symptoms developed shortly after vaccination, while in some cases problems developed before vaccination and in others months after vaccination.

"Dr. Wakefield has accused Mr. Deer of being a hit man. But the medical journal compared the claims with evidence compiled in the voluminous transcript of official hearings and declared that flaws in the paper were not honest mistakes but rather an 'elaborate fraud.'” [Excerpt] Online: January 12 2011. Print: January 13 2011 (Page A22)

The Autism Vaccine Hoax

A tragic scare campaign is exposed as 'fraud'.

"Twelve years late, the media and medical community may finally be digging a grave for one of the more damaging medical scares in history. We're speaking of the vaccines-cause-autism panic, the burial of which cannot come too soon...

"It took the Lancet until last year to offer a full retraction of the 1998 study, and that came only after Britain's medical regulator had ruled that Mr. Wakefield had acted "dishonestly and irresponsibly." The British Medical Journal's article is the first in-depth look at Mr. Wakefield's abuses. By journalist Brian Deer—who has investigated Mr. Wakefield for years—the article reports that the doctor grossly misrepresented the cases of 12 children to support his theory, and that he worked with plaintiffs attorneys to exploit the panic for financial gain.

"This is a start, but the health community and media have a long way to go to restore public trust in immunizations. They also bear some responsibility for the dollars that have been diverted from research into finding the real causes of the terrible affliction that is autism. Let's hope they now broadcast the vaccine truth as much as they encouraged the vaccine panic." [Excerpt] 8 January 2011

Read these editorials and more from 2011 in full

  CTV interview: On 6 January, Deer talks live from London to Dan Matheson at the Canadian commercial network's news studios in Toronto.

  Fighting fraud: In a 6 January discussion on MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan Show, Deer debates the issue of scientific fraud with Grant Steen, a doctor who firmly believes the Wakefield case to be extraordinary and not a sign of a deeper malaise.

  Canadian chat: During a trip by Deer to Toronto, sponsored by the Canadian Journalism Foundation, he's interviewed by George Stroumboulopoulos on CBC's Tonight Show. 14 March 2011.


Retraction: selected press comment in February 2010

Hippocrates would puke - Doctor hoaxed
parents into denying kids vaccine

"It was Wakefield's article, published in 1998 in the premier British medical journal, The Lancet, that gave authority to the proposition that combined inoculations for measles, mumps and rubella were connected to childhood autism. Now, though, the United Kingdom's General Medical Council, which licenses doctors, has concluded that Wakefield cherry-picked the children who became his study subjects, including paying kids at his son's birthday party to give blood. The council also found that he subjected children to unnecessary procedures, such as colonoscopies, for experimental purposes without getting ethical approval. Oh, and Wakefield was secretly bankrolled by lawyers who hoped to sue vaccine makers. Oh, and he owned a patent on a competing measles vaccine... Steadfastly defending both his integrity and his science - and backed by supporters who mutter about "show trials" and "witch hunts" - Wakefield has been shamed before the world. He deserves far worse." [Excerpt] February 6 2010

Dodgy science is bad medicine

"It's a sad fact that the retraction this week of a controversial research paper on the effects of a common childhood vaccination will not have anything like the impact on public opinion of the paper's original publication... The Lancet's online announcement that "we fully retract this paper from the published record" followed a finding by the General Medical Council, the statutory regulatory authority of doctors in the UK, that Wakefield had acted "dishonestly and irresponsibly" in reporting his research. The evidence, of conflict of interest, data-fixing and ethical breaches, makes grim reading. But grimmer still are the effects of the needless anxiety his "findings" caused." [Excerpt] February 7 2010

Debunking the link between autism and vaccination

"The real villain here, of course, is Dr Andrew Wakefield.... Meanwhile, science chugged along, as it does. The autism claim was always suspect, because autism 'presents' naturally at around the same age that children get their vaccine jabs. As any logician will tell you, Correlation Does Not Imply Causation. It's only our natural instinct to see patterns that gets in the way of this obvious sense... In the US, Hollywood got on board. Comedic actor Jim Carrey and Playboy bunny-turned-actress Jenny McCarthy were convinced vaccination caused her son Evan's autism, and they were welcomed with open arms to spruik their views on chat shows across the country. But at the same time, some serious questions were starting to arise about Wakefield's original research. UK investigative journalist Brian Deer produced some excellent, scathing articles... Those who care about science and reason should not sit back and say ''Wakefield guilty, study retracted, case closed''. Processes have failed here that need serious, ongoing thought." [Excerpt] February 4 2010

Read these editorials and more from 2010 in full

  What others say 1: Matt Lauer talks to NBC chief medical editor Dr Nancy Snyderman on the Today Show.

  What others say 2: Gary Schwitzer is interviewed on Fox News. He argues that the story shows how a journalist can make a difference.

Selected resources from the Andrew Wakefield investigation

Wakefield's first and second patent claims for his vaccine/immunisation for the "prevention and/or prophylaxis" of measles virus infection - even the very existence of which he later dishonestly denied

Some of the many documents that prove that Wakefield's 1998 Lancet research was commissioned through solicitors funded by the UK government's legal aid board to attack the MMR vaccine

The August 1996 legal aid certificate funding the clinical and scientific study that Wakefield performed for lawyers and submitted in papers to the Lancet. He later lied about this secret conflict of interest

Here is Wakefield's February 1996 letter to the lawyer, Richard Barr, agreeing to work for him to make a case against MMR. It was written on the letterhead of a company operated by Wakefield's wife

The agreed meanings of Brian Deer's Channel 4 TV documentary, pleaded in Wakefield's abandoned 2005 "gagging writ" lawsuit, Wakefield v Channel 4 & Ors, are here. Wakefield was accused of lying

An English High Court judge, Sir David Eady, hammered Wakefield for using lawsuits for "public relations purposes" and in an effort to "close down discussion and debate over an important public issue"

View the cheque sent to Deer by Wakefield's lawyers to cover the costs of defending this website, after the research cheat abandoned three baseless "gagging writ" libel actions which he used to threaten others

See how The Washington Post in 2004 reported Deer's early interview with a Wakefield ally, Rosemary Kessick, which transformed a routine news assignment into a major public interest investigation

Here is the tabulation, obtained by Deer under the freedom of information act, revealing the enormous secret payments from lawyers to Wakefield, which began two years before the 1998 Lancet paper

The General Medical Council panel's May 2010 conclusion and sentencing, summarising Wakefield's dishonesty and misconduct, and ordering him to be erased from the UK medical register

The General Medical Council's January 2010 findings of fact on the misconduct of Wakefield and two co-defendants, professors John Walker-Smith and Simon Murch, prior to sentencing (above)

Read the side-show tale of a paid smear campaigner, Martin J Walker, hired to plant among vulnerable parents the fabricated Wakefield claim that the drug industry was behind the investigation of his behaviour

As MMR became a "crank magnet", Wakefield's close collaborators included one David L Lewis - fired by the EPA - who bizarrely complained that the standard of Deer's journalism was too high

Brian Deer's tabulation of the Lancet paper findings on the 12 children, comparing them with the NHS records of the same children, almost all in Wakefield's possession. Published in a BMJ series in January 2011

See Wakefield threaten, belittle and betray a vaccine safety whistleblower who, in strict confidence, disclosed what he said was evidence of UK government bungling over MMR

The UK Court of Protection exposes a "mother warrior" claim of vaccine damage as fabricated. This lawsuit claimant and ringleader for Wakefield theories lied for years about what happened to her child

View the histology reports which lay behind Wakefield's claim to have discovered a new inflammatory bowel disease linked with autism. Experts say they are almost all normal, and no child had enterocolitis

In early 2015, Wakefield supporters cheered as a measles outbreak was traced to Disneyland, California. Hear this message from the UK, as sung by Mitch Benn on the BBC radio Now Show [audio]

Wakefield associate John Walker-Smith escaped justice from the GMC by changing his story and refusing to co-operate with the regulator. But the truth about his role was to be found in his altered autobiography

Wakefield loses a fourth vexatious lawsuit as a Texas appeals court throws out his case and orders him to pay costs. Between 1996 and 2014, all courts and tribunals hearing of him would rule against him

Read Deer's legal declaration in Wakefield's fourth vexatious lawsuit, setting out how the investigation came about, and what was found. At present, this is the most detailed description of Wakefield's fraud

How an unscrupulous filmmaker Miranda Bailey lied in a 2017 "documentary" to support Wakefield's campaign, fooling distributors and audiences alike in her bid to make money from wounded parents

Selected audio interviews with Deer about the investigation

Hear Brian Deer interviewed by Kathryn Ryan of Radio New Zealand in a special 30 minute conversation about the MMR investigation and Wakefield, broadcast on 10 February 2010

Hear Deer interviewed by
Russ Roberts about the investigation's methods and findings in an hour-long podcast from the Library of Economics and Liberty, posted 31 January 2011

In this 30-minute clip, Deer is interviewed by Michael Enright of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Sunday Edition show, heard across North America. 20 February 2011

After a measles outbreak is traced to Disneyland, California, Deer is interviewed by John Hockenberry for The Takeaway, produced by WNYC Radio and Public Radio International. 4 February 2015

  August 2009: Brian Deer is interviewed by Matt Lauer on the NBC News Dateline program concerning the first part of the Wakefield investigation.

Another clip includes Wakefield's reply. He says of the children: "Now let's be clear. They were admitted to the Royal Free for investigation of their symptoms. Nothing to do with research, nothing to do with class action, nothing to do with vaccines." Documents say otherwise.

wakefield retraction  

Left: British newspapers report the response to Deer's first stories in 2004

November 2016: Doctorate for Deer follows journalism prizes

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