Wakefield motivated by secret business deals, report says

The BMJ has recently charged that the doctor behind the claims that the childhood vaccine caused autism had secret business deals aimed at exploiting the fears his work would create.

In the second part of a three-part series, journalist Brian Deer uncovered the patent filings and startup companies that Andrew Wakefield had in place before publishing his study in the Lancet that claimed 12 children developed behavioral abnormalities after receiving the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine.

The BMJ article also provides additional details about Wakefield’s dealings with a law firm that was in the process of suing vaccine manufacturers.

Deer’s series began with discrediting Wakefield’s work on the study by pointing out severe discrepancies between medical records and the information provided by the caregivers of the children. The reporter stated that Wakefield’s work was deliberate fraud. The Lancet retracted the paper formally last year.

Now the BMJ is reporting that the fraudulent study was part of a money-making scheme wherein Wakefield and other associates, including the father of one of the children in the study, would sell diagnostic kits for vaccine-induced diseases, as well as “safe” vaccines and therapies based on his research. Deer uncovered prospectuses for these plans that put profits into the tens of millions of dollars, BMJ reports.

Wakefield’s employer, the Royal Free and University College Medical School in London, was initially in on a deal that was expected to rake in revenue of over $40 million. The deal fell apart in 1999 when the Royal Free appointed a new head of medicine that was skeptical of Wakefield’s work.