Committee ruled only kids after approval "will be considered to be in the trial"

This page is research from an investigation by Brian Deer for The Sunday Times of London and the UK's Channel 4 Television into a campaign linking the MMR children's vaccine with autism. | Go to part I: The Lancet scandal | Go to part II: The Wakefield factor

One of the key questions arising from Brian Deer's investigation was whether a study of autistic children, published in the Lancet on February 28 1998, was approved by the ethics committee of the Royal Free hospital, as was claimed by Andrew Wakefield and his co-authors. Here is the authorisation letter, of January 7 1997: actually for a study of measles-rubella vaccine - MR- and disintegrative disorder, not MMR and autism. After Deer's challenge, Wakefield denied that he needed ethical approval for the research at all

The first letter below instructs the doctors that children enrolled before December 18 1996 may not be included. Below it is a letter of acceptance by John Walker-Smith, the principal clinician. However, documentation obtained by Brian Deer shows that at least seven were admitted to the hospital before this date, in a project described on lab records, also obtained, as the "autistic child study"

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