Falsified studies claiming to show a link between the MMR vaccine and autism risk by Dr. Andrew Wakefield in 1998 had a multimillion-dollar motivation behind them, investigative journalist, Brian Deer, reveals in the BMJ (British Medical Journal). Disgraced Dr. Wakefield's scheme is exposed in the second part of a series of reports "Secrets of the MMR scare". The first part revealed the scientific fraud, while in the second part Deer simply "follows the money".
Deer gathered data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. He reveals how the Royal Free Medical School, London, supported Wakefield as he planned to use the MMR scare to make money.
While the first child being investigated was still in hospital, the report reveals how the disgraced doctor negotiated with medical school managers about a joint business deal. Within days of publishing his scare report in The Lancet in 1998, Wakefield brought potential business partners for further negotiations.
Replacement vaccines, diagnostic testing kits and other devices and products were on the drawing board for development by a company named after Wakefield's wife. These products would only have sold well if the public became truly scared of the MMR vaccine's autism risk.
The report quotes documents which show that Wakefield and his potential business partners would have had planned shareholdings. Financial forecasts were predicting incomes of (UK) £28 ($43 million, 33 million Euros) annually just from diagnostic kit sales.
The report mentions:
"It is estimated that the initial market for the diagnostic will be litigation driven testing of patients with AE (autistic enterocolitis) from both the UK and the USA (according to a 35 page) private and confidential prospectus"
The prospectus, found by Deer, intended to raise £700,000 in venture capital.
"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."
Deer also reveals that Wakefield turned down an offer of support to carry out a larger study with 150 patients - his initial study included just 12 children. He turned down the offer, saying that his academic freedom would be jeopardized. None of Wakefield's research claims have ever been replicated.
The BMJ will publish Part 3 of this investigation on January 18th, 2011.
"How the vaccine crisis was meant to make money"
Brian Deer, journalist
BMJ 2011; 342:c5258 doi: 10.1136/bmj.c5258
Written by Christian Nordqvist