Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Autism-Vax Doc Scandal Was Pharma Business Scam

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the oh-this-again dept.

Medicine 541

Sockatume writes "In his second report, Brian Deer exposes how MMR-autism prophet Andrew Wakefield aimed to profit from the vaccine scare. Two years before the research that 'discovered' the MMR-autism link, Wakefield began courting interest in a hundred-million-dollar diagnostics firm. The doctor hoped to seed the company with government legal aid money and profit by charging 'premium prices' for new diagnostic tests to be used in vaccine injury lawsuits. By the time Wakefield published, the proposals had expanded into producing new 'safe' vaccines, two businesses to gather legal aid funding, and interest from partners including Wakefield's own hospital. The scheme ultimately disintegrated with the arrival of new leadership at Wakefield's hospital and ongoing scrutiny into his research."

cancel ×

541 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!1111!11! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847332)

Really? Someone was out to make money off of autism and vaccines? Say it ain't so!

Re:Noooooooooo!!!!!!1111!11! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847386)

My son was just fine, and then he got his vaccinations. Now he's really troubled. Let's not let this fraud get in the way of a world wide heath tragedy.

Re:Noooooooooo!!!!!!1111!11! (4, Insightful)

gomiam (587421) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847548)

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc [wikipedia.org] , nice fallacy.

Re:Noooooooooo!!!!!!1111!11! (5, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847574)

I submit your son's troubles are directly causally related to exposure to you. After all, his condition declines with exposure to you.

Facetious? Yes. At the same time, people are very good at convincing themselves that they understand the "cause" of something even when they don't. This is how superstitions are born. Post hoc, ergo propter hoc is called a logical fallacy for a reason, yet for some reason there's a sizable, possibly majority, portion of the population that simply cannot grasp the difference between correlation, causation, and just plain coincidence.

Re:Noooooooooo!!!!!!1111!11! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34848136)

The fancy and +5 Insightful way to say 'CORRELATION IZ NOT CAUSATIONZ NEWB'

Re:Noooooooooo!!!!!!1111!11! (5, Funny)

Myopic (18616) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847688)

Did you ever give him steamed carrots? Like, the baby food with carrots in it? Or did you ever cook and mash up your own carrots? Or did your wife ever eat carrots and breastfeed your son? I don't want to cause undue alarm, but you need to search the web TODAY about carrots and developmental abnormalities. Seriously. Do it, and be careful with carrots until your child is at least in its teens.

Re:Noooooooooo!!!!!!1111!11! (1, Funny)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 3 years ago | (#34848092)

His child is an "it" now? More importantly, it isn't carrots, it's garnets... pesky gems available widely in January. I highly recommend anyone who has to live through a January avoid people born in that month. Garnets are dangerous -- bad combination of minerals and color. Speaking of dangers, we should also note that peas are dangerous too... especially when attached to a pin and stuck into a large Starbucks straw.

Re:Noooooooooo!!!!!!1111!11! (1, Insightful)

redemtionboy (890616) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847764)

My problem with this sir, is that even it did cause your son to get autism, which it didn't, it would still be worth it. Should we not spare 40% of children from DYING so that 1% doesn't get autism. That is easily worth the trade off.

Re:Noooooooooo!!!!!!1111!11! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847972)

Should we not spare 40% of children from DYING so that 1% doesn't get autism. That is easily worth the trade off.

Try saying that when it's your child, asshole.

Re:Noooooooooo!!!!!!1111!11! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34848098)

Your child is still alive you insensitive clod.

Re:Noooooooooo!!!!!!1111!11! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34848046)

"redemtionboy" - Hey, Moron - it's spelled "redemption".

http://www.google.com/#sclient=psy&hl=en&q=redemtion&aq=f&aqi=g-s4g-o1&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=&pbx=1&fp=83f87efc6f926f13

Re:Noooooooooo!!!!!!1111!11! (4, Insightful)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34848068)

This is the part of the whole thing I never understood. Even if we accept that vaccines increase the risk of Autism (which they don't), the problem they solve is much more serious. People die or get permanent life altering disabilities from the diseases we vaccinate against. To employ the very over the top rhetoric of the movement itself: "Don't these people understand that they're killing babies?!?!" Sure we don't have a lot of experience with most of these diseases, but that's precisely because we are nearly immune to them as a society. Remove the herd immunity and they go right back to killing people.

Re:Noooooooooo!!!!!!1111!11! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847902)


I'm sorry to hear about your son.

I'm a Doctor (Doctor of Chiropractic). Please get your son in to a Chiropractor for immediate adjustments which can allow the nervous system to heal. If it hasn't been too long, the toxins in vaccines can be removed by chelation therapy. As a Chiropractor, I'm not allowed to make prescriptions but can recommend such treatments.

Remember:
- Proper Nutrition
- Exercise
- Regular Chiropractic treatment
- Don't visit MDs, they are quacks.

Good luck!

Re:Noooooooooo!!!!!!1111!11! (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34848052)

Addressed to all the previous respondents to parent, and the mods to same:

Whoosh!

I see there are many people here who still need a sense of humour implant.

I would have thought the comment's title alone would have made it clear it was intended as a joke....

Re:Noooooooooo!!!!!!1111!11! (1, Informative)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847570)

The worst part is that we've known about this for at least 6 years now. Here's an article from 2004:

http://briandeer.com/mmr/st-wakefield-vaccine.htm [briandeer.com]

It's always good to see that Slashdot is firmly at the cutting edge of science and technology ...

Heh (3, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847352)

I know it's not the same thing, but this sorta reminds me of that TNG episode where two planets were suffering from a plague, and the cure was on one planet...but the cure was also a narcotic. One planet cured themselves of the addiction, but kept selling it to the other planet under the false pretense they would die if they didn't continue consuming it (their symptoms were withdrawal, not plague death.) I love how at the end of it, Piccard is like "Let's get as far away from this system as we can. Screw these loonies, let them duke it out." Can't remember the name of the episode, but I know it was in the first season.

Re:Heh (4, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847444)

The problem here is, Wakefield's scam has actually caused the death of hundreds of kids and caused thousands of others to get sick with completely preventable illnesses.

He's personally responsible for causing outbreaks of diseases which were all but eradicated to spring back up as enough stupid parents followed the lead of batshit-insane people [time.com] to break down what we call "herd immunity" [vaccinetruth.org] , which is also what we rely on to protect the small number of people in society who don't get vaccinations for "religious" reasons or because they have a demonstrable allergy [drgreene.com] to one of the vaccine components.

Further, the "debate" over this has increased distrust of doctors, which isn't helpful. We already have enough problems with hypochondriacs who should have their WebMD access taken away because they are constantly convinced they are "special" people with some rare, exotic illness rather than a garden-variety head cold.

Re:Heh (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847520)

He indirectly contributed to the deaths of 6 kids. no need for hyperbole

Blame to go around. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847530)

This "researcher" is the total blame. Anyone who believed some soft-core porn chick with fake boobs over their physicians kind of had it coming - it's a tragedy that their children paid the price for their stupidity.

Re:Blame to go around. (5, Insightful)

Myopic (18616) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847746)

But... but.. but... she has "mommy intuition"! How could "medical science" ever trump that?

Re:Heh (3, Informative)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847558)

...to break down what we call "herd immunity" [vaccinetruth.org] , which is also what we rely on to protect the small number of people in society who don't get vaccinations for "religious" reasons or because they have a demonstrable allergy [drgreene.com] to one of the vaccine components.

And also those for who get the vaccine, but it just plain doesn't work, for whatever reason.

Re:Heh (5, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847582)

The worst problem is that it don't ends now. For years (centuries?) from now people will refuse to vaccine kids because "i hear somewhere that it causes autism", that kind of lies, misunderstandings and myths are documented that remain for very long, no matter what science says loudy all around (like some few examples [wikipedia.org] that came to light recently)

Re:Heh (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847920)

Frankly, people that stupid don't deserve to procreate anyway. I don't advocate child abuse but it is absolutely ridiculously stupid to believe horse shit like "vaccines cause autism" if you have half a brain. Autism is a similar symptom of a myriad of diseases or genetic/developmental abnormalities. To think it has some cause effect relationship with dead bits of virii or proteins is asinine.

Re:Heh (1)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 3 years ago | (#34848174)

And of course, none of those kids will be allowed to go to school (at least in my state, no one is allowed in without a certain set of vaccines... I guess homeschooling is an option, but the home school crowd usually does so because they want a better education than is being provided by the state / private schools and would likely be aware of the scam issues) and thus, won't impact the majority of people when they get sick... this is a tragedy because they will have less apparent value to society already (I am not saying they actually have less value but that society tends not to appreciate the value of the uneducated today).

Re:Heh (2)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#34848196)


Vaccines disrupt the body's humours!

Re:Heh (5, Insightful)

MogNuts (97512) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847696)

No. Thank Jenny McCarthy for that. And Oprah.

Oprah has done a lot of good, so she gets a pass. But again a reason that celebrities should just shut up and do their job, because almost 100% in any other aspect of life, they're idiots.

Re:Heh (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847930)

Scientology. Tom Cruise.

Re:Heh (1, Interesting)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847766)

I have worked in the med-device industry since 1990, the whole time doing cutting edge research while anticipating the probable outcome of that research so the company can patent solutions to the problems that people don't know they need to solve yet.

Ultimate goal: profit. Scheming to make millions? Yes, we all did it. I have been under the impression we are acting like good capitalists following the American dream, taking risks to have a chance of reaping great rewards. Falsifying research, suppressing unwanted results? Not in my jobs, but rumors of bigger companies (especially pharma), doing it abound.

The whole vax/anti-vax thing has evolved into a sad prejudiced polarization of opinion, worse than religion and politics for most people I hear debating it.

You could show me a video of Jenny McCarthy giving Dr. Wakefield a blow job before he published his "research" and even if I believed the video was authentic, it isn't going to sway my opinion on whether or not following the current U.S. recommended vaccine schedule is in the best interests of my children. Wakefield's study is just one data point among millions, and it never was the fundamental basis for my opinions. I had already discounted his findings it when I learned that he had funding to do a study on 150 children, but declined to do so, staying pat with his results from 12.

Re:Heh (0)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847888)

Doctors already do enough whereby they should not be trusted. In my own personal case, having a doctor tell my wife "they will pray for her" rather than try to solve her problem is enough to throw up a red flag for me. Or the fact that they advocate CT scans for things that can be diagnosed by x-ray or ultrasound, or the fact that they don't even bother to prescribe medicines to you you actually know will help you from previous experience. Doctors have a "I know this you don't" attitude that is draconian in light of, uhhh the INTERNET. Sorry for the rant, just wanted to point out that this dude is a dirt bag like many other doctors.

Re:Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34848078)

And i'm an engineer because I can Google how a bridge works.......
Let me guess, your experience was with American health care

Or you were just looking for oxys and docs said no....

Re:Heh (1)

tist (1086039) | more than 3 years ago | (#34848202)

...batshit-insane people...

Like Scott Shoemaker http://www.ageofautism.com/2007/07/chelation-and-t.html [ageofautism.com] . I happen to know Scott and Josh. His story is anecdotal, I admit. But the effect of treatment on his son is a matter of fact, not up for interpretation. I saw a boy who spun in circles and rolled his eyes constantly. Who could not talk to his parents and was afraid of his little sister. After his treatment, he was (and still is) quite normal. How did Josh get Autism? I don't know. Did he have Autism? Don't know that either. Did he have heavy metal poisoning? If you look up the symptoms you'll see they are quite similar. I know this is unpopular among the slashdot crowd, but it is an accurate accounting of a real life incident.

Re:Heh (1)

Bemopolis (698691) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847554)

"Symbiosis". A decent ep, but more notable as having Kirk's son from the movies in one of the guest roles.

Re:Heh (1)

sorak (246725) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847754)

The punchline there was that the planet selling the narcotics needed the Enterprise's help to get cargo lines reestablished. So, by leaving them high and dry, he was creating a situation where the one planet would get past their withdrawal before cargo could be reestablished.

Hanging is too good for him (2)

BubbaDave (1352535) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847390)

And he will probably suffer no repercussions.

Dave

Re:Hanging is too good for him (2)

Stormthirst (66538) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847536)

And he will probably suffer no repercussions.

Aside from being struck off you mean? He was a practising medical doctor and surgeon - which he will never be allowed to do again. After all the controversy I doubt he'd even be able to consult in any form of medical field. Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Wakefield

Being the land of law the UK is, it wouldn't surprise me if he got jail time.

Re:Hanging is too good for him (1)

BubbaDave (1352535) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847562)

For the fraudulent activities that were already exposed or for doing it for profit?

It was this new bit of info to which I was referring.

Dave

Re:Hanging is too good for him (5, Informative)

golfbum (1408137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847710)

Wakefield is happily minting money in TX where he "manages" an alternative therapy clinic. He claims he isn't practicing medicine at all just "managing." He definitely should be back in the UK standing before a judge. gb

Doesn't Jenny McCarthy look stupid now (-1, Offtopic)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847394)

Still hot, even with egg on her face.

Re:Doesn't Jenny McCarthy look stupid now (5, Funny)

scubamage (727538) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847412)

...I don't think that's egg.

Re:Doesn't Jenny McCarthy look stupid now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847426)

That's not egg.

Re:Doesn't Jenny McCarthy look stupid now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847432)

... egg on her face

That's basically what the Japanese word "bukkake" means

Autism VAX? (4, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847396)

Now, I know RISC is cool these days and the VAX was pretty much the embodiment of CISC, but calling it autistic is a bit uncalled for.

Re:Autism VAX? (5, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847486)

Well, while the VAX wasn't autistic, it certainly its users weren't playing with a full DEC, either.

Re:Autism VAX? (2)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34848006)

I had the same thought. Why are these damned kids so lazy these days? Or is it stupidity? Is it that they're too lazy to spell out "vaccine", or too stupid to know how to spell it?

You are entirely correct, a VAX is an old computer. A Vaccine is the shot you get to immunise yourself from a disease.

2 mch txtng?

BTW, can you get these damned kids off our lawns?

This is a Big Deal (5, Insightful)

microTodd (240390) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847420)

Being a new parent right around the height of the Autism/Vaccination scare, this is a Big Deal. This was huge! We had lots of talking heads on TV telling people not to vaccinate their kids. Famously, Jenny McCarthy went on Oprah and told parents not to vaccinate their kids. Many doctors and parents LISTENED! If you read the articles, you'll see that as a result children died of easily preventable childhood diseases because parents were too scared to get the proper vaccinations.

I am frankly amazed that this turned out to be a scam and not just sloppy science research. I just cannot fathom the depths of this man's conscience.

The sad part is, the repercussions will continue to last for years and years. Even after this has all been revealed as malicious, willful fraud, I bet dollars to doughnuts that many parents will still believe it, and won't get their kids vaccinations, putting them at risk.

I'm normally a laid back guy but this one just makes me fired up.

Re:This is a Big Deal (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847494)

"I just cannot fathom the depths of this man's conscience"

if (MakesProfit == true)
{
Scam scam = new Scam("AutismVax");
scam.Start();
}

Re:This is a Big Deal (5, Funny)

Bemopolis (698691) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847590)

If there were a God of Justice, Wakefield would be felled by polio and end up in an iron lung.

And if there were a God of Irony, a study would be published that conclusively demonstrated that autism is caused by breast implants.

Re:This is a Big Deal (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847982)

If there were a God of Justice, Wakefield would be felled by polio and end up in an iron lung.....

which through repeated friction from its rubber seal undulations would cause a bad case of necrotizing fasciitis.

She's STILL SAYING IT! (5, Informative)

Ieshan (409693) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847620)

Famously, Jenny McCarthy went on Oprah and told parents not to vaccinate their kids. Many doctors and parents LISTENED! If you read the articles, you'll see that as a result children died of easily preventable childhood diseases because parents were too scared to get the proper vaccinations.

She's STILL DOING IT! She still says the same thing. Article in Huffington Post, dated TWO DAYS AGO:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jenny-mccarthy/vaccine-autism-debate_b_806857.html [huffingtonpost.com]


I know children regress after vaccination because it happened to my own son. Why aren't there any tests out there on the safety of how vaccines are administered in the real world, six at a time? Why have only 2 of the 36 shots our kids receive been looked at for their relationship to autism? Why hasn't anyone ever studied completely non-vaccinated children to understand their autism rate?

These missing safety studies are causing many parents to approach vaccines with moderation. Why do other first world countries give children so many fewer vaccines than we do? What if a parent used the vaccine schedule of Denmark, Norway, Japan or Finland -- countries that give one-third the shots we do (12 shots vs. 36 in the U.S.)? Vaccines save lives, but might be harming some children -- is moderation such a terrible idea?

This debate won't end because of one dubious reporter's allegations. I have never met stronger women than the moms of children with autism. Last week, this hoopla made us a little stronger, and even more determined to fight for the truth about what's happening to our kids.

Amazing.

Re:She's STILL SAYING IT! (1)

sorak (246725) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847944)

Sad. Scientists may have to perform those tests and waste countless dollars, just to make people stop taking medical advise from a woman who is best known for posing in playboy, and picking her nose on tv.

Re:She's STILL SAYING IT! (0)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34848192)

Waste of time. If that ever happens, the same batshit crew will claim big pharma rigged the new tests, and will be impossible to convince otherwise because they weren't the first to claim rigging.

Re:She's STILL SAYING IT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847964)

Actually, the questions she's asking (assuming they haven't been answered) are valid questions.

The autism rate in non-vaccinated kids vs. the autism rate in vaccinated kids would be a real useful statistic to know, wouldn't it?

If it's true that only 2 vaccines have been examined for a link to autism, that may be a valid research opportunity.

Interestingly, it appears to me that both studies could be done quite inexpensively. Just find a bunch of kids who have autism and look at their vaccination history, and run analysis.

Re:She's STILL SAYING IT! (1)

tpheiska (1145505) | more than 3 years ago | (#34848208)

What if a parent used the vaccine schedule of Denmark, Norway, Japan or Finland -- countries that give one-third the shots we do (12 shots vs. 36 in the U.S.)?

I'm disgusted that the name of my country is used by her in this context. That being said, we have an ongoing public debate considering the swine flu vaccination in Finland. The whole thing seemed really suspicious to me, and I am by no means against vaccination. I want to make this absolutely clear, I strongly support vaccinating children.

After people were vaccinated in Finland there were many cases of narcolepsy. The doctors and authorities have confirmed that there exists a connection on the times when narcolepsy became more common and the vaccinations began. No correlation other than the dates has been found. However, there are interesting connections between the pharmaceutical companies and health authorities. The people that have recommended the vaccination program are also being paid by the pharma companies to do research. I find this extremely interesting considering that the vaccinations were rushed to the public with a schedule that is much faster than in normal vaccination programs. I myself did not get the vaccination. I really don't want to give ammunition to the antivaxxers but I still wonder if corruption and incompeteness prevailed in the vaccination program.

Re:This is a Big Deal (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847678)

Famously, Jenny McCarthy went on Oprah and told parents not to vaccinate their kids. Many doctors and parents LISTENED!

On the upside, this could (over time) increase "herd immunity" (via adverse selection) to the garbage that falls out of Oprah's cunt-mouth, so that's a bonus.

Re:This is a Big Deal (4, Interesting)

glueball (232492) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847694)

The fascinating part to me is people *knew* there was a link. It was in the literature. People with PhD's and MD's were trotted out saying to the masses "You don't have my education, my experience. This Autism link is real. Big Pharma is poisoning you"

I see a lot of similarities to Global warming ^C^C^C^C Climate Change arguments.

Re:This is a Big Deal (1)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 3 years ago | (#34848212)

Big Pharma probably is poisoning us on some level already (at least indirectly through the various drugs that pass through current water treatment tech). Thankfully, it is better to have the "cure" than to attempt without it (or at least, so it would appear given that the life expectancy in Western countries (even in the low life expectancy ones like the US) is more than double what it is in places like Nepal and South Africa (or it was last I checked).

Re:This is a Big Deal (2)

NorbrookC (674063) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847730)

What bothers me about it was that no one at Lancet, not the editors or the peer-reviewers, bothered to question the data and the assumptions to begin with. I'm also curious to know just what role the other co-authors had in this paper. Were they just "courtesy additions," or were they complicit in this research? Having written a few research articles, I can only think of one that went through without a request for revisions, or additional data. Most of the time, we were put through the wringer.

Re:This is a Big Deal (5, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847832)

It should make you fired up, but in a different way.

Look at what you said: Jenny McCarthy went on Oprah and told parents not to vaccinate their kids.
So...Jenny McCarthy (famous for her diagnostic research?) went on Oprah (famous for its rigorous, investigative journalism?) and told people not to get a procedure that had been not just recommended but nearly mandatory for what, 40 years?
And on THAT basis, they didn't?

Sorry, but dude, if people are THAT gullible and witless that they trust their child's LIFE to the pronouncements of Jenny McCarthy and Oprah....well, they probably were going to have trouble making it across the street alive too.

I'm sorry to sound so cynical, but at what point are people required to perform a little due diligence on their own lives? I mean, sure, we're not all epidemiologists or vaccine researchers, we can't all parse the raw data for results. But there are experts you CAN turn to (your family doctor, for one) for advice, and I don't know many of them basing their counsel on Oprah. And if you as a self-aware actor make the choice to disregard experts, that IS your choice. And the results - good or bad - are your fault. Sometimes, I'm sure, you'll be right. That would make your choice evolutionarily right, congrats.

Usually, however, I'd guess that you'd be wrong.

Looking at it objectively, one could say it was a 2nd-order Darwin effect. It's a bitch when it happens to be you though.

Re:This is a Big Deal (1)

golfbum (1408137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847882)

The negative impact on herd immunity cannot be overlooked... gb

Re:This is a Big Deal (2)

Myopic (18616) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847856)

Of COURSE these people won't change their minds! To do that they would have to be capable of experiencing cognitive dissonance. Want to read some lunacy? Just check out what Jenny says on her stupid website [generationrescue.com] this week:

Recent Dr. Andrew Wakefield Media Circus: Much Ado About Nothing

The mainstream media is in a frenzy over a new "study" claiming that Andrew Wakefield's 1998 Lancet paper was fraudulent. For years, the media has mischaracterized Wakefield's work as implicating the MMR vaccine in the autism epidemic. This was never true, as Wakefield himself wrote in the conclusion to his paper:

"We did not prove an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described."

We hope the media will take the time to read the actual Lancet study, rather than repeating the message of a vaccine-industry funded media circus.

Talk about missing the point! Hey lady, the person who convinced you of a certain thing was a fraud and a charlatan. He pushed phony bullshit on you and you bought it. It's all crap; none of it is true. The last nail in the coffin came years and years ago; this is merely the last scoop of earth on top of the grave-site. Give it up, be an adult, understand that you were horribly wrong and use your celebrity to try to undo some of the enormous harm you did to the world's children. For God's sake don't dig in your high heels and move the goalpost!

Re:This is a Big Deal (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847950)

There are an infinite number of values between 0 and 1. But 2 isn't one of them.

Its worse than that! There are an uncountably infinite number of values between 0 and 1!

Re:This is a Big Deal (3, Funny)

Burdell (228580) | more than 3 years ago | (#34848124)

Its worse than that! There are an uncountably infinite number of values between 0 and 1!

Only if you are irrational.

Obligatory Office Space Quote (4, Funny)

scubamage (727538) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847438)

"You know what I can't figure out? How is it that all these stupid neanderthal mafia guys can be so good at crime, and smart guys like us can suck so badly at it."

Re:Obligatory Office Space Quote (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847514)

I think the problem is called conscience. That's what corporations are for, it's intelligence without conscience.

Damage is already done (5, Insightful)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847442)

There are so many parents who believed (the media interpretation of) the first study that they kept their kids from getting vaccinated. As a result, it has been more common to see childhood illnesses which had been virtual eradicated with the help of vaccination, particularly measles, as well as some other more dangerous diseases. Lives have been put at risk because this guy gambled (correctly) that new parents are easy to freak out and take advantage of. Now there is the daunting task of convincing those same parents, who aren't going to want to admit they were basically taken in a huge scam and put their kids at risk because they were dumb, which means a large number of people are going to convince themselves the retraction is a scam/conspiracy/etc and that the original study was right.

Is there a degree of felony high enough to cover this?

Re:Damage is already done (5, Informative)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847534)

The problem was ignorant parents. At no point did anyone say that ALL MMR vaccines are dangerous - the (completely unfounded) rumours only ever circulated on the combined MMR vaccine. You still can, and always have been able to, get the separate vaccines which have been working since the 70's in just about everyone without any problems of the kind mentioned here. But parents didn't read that bit. They just read "vaccination" = "autism" (which happened to be complete bollocks anyway) and assumed it meant EVERY vaccination. Stupidity on the part of parents who can't read can't be blamed on governments or rogue doctors here.

In the UK (where this doctor was based and doing his research and started this scandal), you could opt for the normal, old, tested vaccines without any problem at all. It was only the new, combined MMR vaccine that ever had such claims against it. Doctors in the UK routinely offered the alternatives to parents who were worried. It was only the *dumb* parents who immediately steered clear of things that had been working, without problems, without dubious claims, and without association with any such scandals, even when they were offered them. The media over here actually did a good job of separating it out and offering correct advice, but some people always get too hysterical to actually LISTEN to what they are being told.

It's like saying that a particular model of car has been recalled because of faulty brakes and then NOBODY buying a car ever again. It's that ridiculous.

And it wouldn't be a felony, because he's in the UK and we don't have that word. However, he's already been dismissed by the GMC and will never practice as a doctor again. There's also the very-real possibility of legal action against the doctor, hospital, government advisers that listened, etc.

Re:Damage is already done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847642)

No, the problem was a manipulative, amoral researcher and an *IGNORANT PRESS* that blindly accepted the assertions made by the antivax crowd as if they had the same weight as the scientific community.

Just because someone has a loud opinion doesn't mean they deserve an equal chunk of the spotlight, and damn you all to Hell, Oprah, Larry King, and every other tabloid "journalist" that profited off of the "controversy."

And these sons of bitches sleep like angels, I bet.

Re:Damage is already done (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34848158)

I'm afraid I have to correct you here, part of the above comment is bollocks! The statement about the report being about the combined MMR is correct, but the availability of the single vaccines is not.

Doctors have been told to refuse requests for single vaccines through West London, Berkshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire (the areas that we have checked), and in one vaccine's case (Mumps) the single vaccine is no longer imported, nor available, in this country.

Single vaccines for Measles and Rubella can be had on the private market (at a cost), but they are *not* available through the NHS, nor from *any* NHS Doctor's surgery. Choice has been removed by a government that pushed the combined vaccine even at the expense of parents who would quite happily use the single vaccines. Whether the government was "right" regarding the combined vaccine is irrelevant, by removing the choice from the NHS they are, partially, to blame for the current mess.

Re:Damage is already done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847542)

> Is there a degree of felony high enough to cover this?

Decades of wrongful death litigation might be enough.

Re:Damage is already done (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847790)

Are you people insane? Can you not see whats going on here? Those people were and still are RIGHT ABOUT VACCINES BEING LINKED TO AUTISM AND MANY OTHER FUCKED UP MIND NUMBING ILLNESSES! The media and apparently you people are owned by the pharmacutical company super giants. They want us stupid, on govt assistance and unable to think for ourselves. Look up flouride and see how its in our water supply. Hitlers idealogy is still at work in the USA. Do the research and don"t be lazy bums. They have the resources and they think they can cover up anything thats gonna or has been exposed. especially if they feel its a threat. WAKE UP AND LOOK AROUND

Re:Damage is already done (3, Insightful)

thijsh (910751) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847808)

People who have been misled by false information are just that: 'misled'. People who choose to endanger their children (and others secondarily) after they know the facts are provably negligent.

While it may be hard to prosecute for this because it is not that black-and-white (and people can always play the religion wildcard) it is possible to prosecute negligent parents when it does go wrong and their children die of a preventable disease... It is not pretty since they already lost their child, but other people might learn from their mistakes... If people don't see the consequence and learn from it we all are at risk of infection so there is a reasonable incentive to prosecute and shame these willfully neglectful parents as much as legally possible so people will say 'they would never mistreat their children like that'.

Hmm... (2)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847474)

Maybe, just maybe, so much power over life and death shouldn't be given to for-profit organisations?

Because then you end up with crap like this.

Re:Hmm... (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847498)

Wakefield was working at a public hospital doing publicly-funded research. It's a shame he missed his true calling to do utterly abysmal science for a dodgy pharmaceutical firm, but I don't think that his setting made much of a difference to his ethics.

Re:Hmm... (2)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847564)

"Wakefield began courting interest in a hundred-million-dollar diagnostics firm."
"...hoped to seed the company with government legal aid money and profit by charging "premium prices" for new diagnostic tests to be used in vaccine injury"

The fact that you can make big money off this sort of thing is the main problem. While it was publicly-funded research, his idea was to use this in order to make money off the side from something like that.

Re:Hmm... (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 3 years ago | (#34848024)

So no publicly-funded researcher ever falsified data to increase grant money (or keep their job)? The problem is that this guy was a greedy, unethical scam artist. Don't make it out to be anything more.

Re:Hmm... (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34848080)

Maybe, just maybe, so much power over life and death shouldn't be given to for-profit organisations?

Because then you end up with crap like this.

Continuing that line of thought, you can't pay or promote individual docs for their work, or they could falsify their results. The only option available is a union payscale. Similar to military doctors whom get paid pretty much on salary.

Not *entirely* news... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847482)

Hi, speaking on behalf of the medical field, we've known a bunch of this for years. Which is why the accusations from the Anti-Vax mob about "Pushing Poison" on behalf of "Big Pharma" was so infuriating. This asshole lied about MMR and other vaccines because he was pushing his own vaccine. He's done incalculable harm, for his OWN profit, and his supporters accused *us* of being immoral profit slaves.

And this includes all you soft-spined assholes who would take the stance of "Well, I'm not saying they're right, but maybe they have something, there are a lot of concerns right? What harm [whatstheharm.net] is there to letting the parents decide [jennymccar...ycount.com] if they're uncomfortable?"

Hope the truth burns, folks.

This goes to show (1)

ticketswapz (1974628) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847550)

The link between so-called scientific research and making a dollar. I had a girl on Facebook post about some "HIV breakthrough" that could "cure" HIV / AIDS. I hated to rain on her parade but I posted previous stories from 2010 where there were "HIV breakthroughs" that proved to not work or be false, basically calling for investment in exchange to continue the research.

The whole idea is flawed. (4, Insightful)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847568)

There is one issue I have had since the beginning.
Assume it were true.
Assume all the autism is caused by vaccination (it can't be worse than that).
The autism percentage in the US in 2007 was 0.7%.
The chance a kid dies from diseases he could have been vaccinated against is higher, dunno the exact number and am to lazy to look'em up.
So these people think it's worse to have a kid with autism than to lose your child to a disease? Are these people insane?

Re:The whole idea is flawed. (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847966)

If people avoided all childhood vaccinations, that is. The mortality rate of many of the diseases we vaccinate against is higher than 0.7%, and before we started vaccinating against them, they were common diseases.

People don't think about that, though, just like they say that people survived just fine before kids wore bike helmets and ladders had stickers telling you which rung not to go past.

Actual fraud, or confirmation bias? (2)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847626)

Is this actual fraud, or the kind of confirmation bias that goes on in science all the time? In other words, did this guy actually really believe his own results and invest accordingly, or did he fabricate his results in order to profit from the fabrication knowing it was a fabrication? There's a subtle but important difference.

Re:Actual fraud, or confirmation bias? (4, Informative)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847992)

He made investments based on the result of a study before he performed it, cherry-picked study participants, and then falsified results.

Re:Actual fraud, or confirmation bias? (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34848160)

Well, it looks as if he falsified the data, with the dates reported in his paper different from those in the medical records. That sounds like more than confirmation bias to me.

It's too easy to say he was a fraudster (4, Interesting)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847640)

The thrust of arguments seems to be that he intended fraud and a quick buck right from the start, or that he has been slandered and all will come out as he claimed once the dust settles.

But a more likely scenario is that he was convinced of the link between MMR and autism from the very early preliminary studies, so much so that he reached out for financial support and to the lawyers, expecting to not only prevent autism cases, but secondarily to make a buck from the evil pharma in the course of making them pay for their dastardly greedy mistakes. Revenge is all the sweeter when the revengee has to pay you for their mistake.

And in the end, so addicted was he to that end and his premature conclusion, that he deluded himself past the point where he could ever admit he had been wrong. When his data came out incompatible with his preconceived notion, he did not take a deep breath, count to ten, and reconsider his original position. He fudged the data to match his "reality" and passed the point of no return.

Yes, he deserves to be slapped around, but to say he planned this fraud right from the beginning is too facile an argument.

well... (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847660)

At least no one was hurt. White collar crimes only hurt insurance companies right?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124165229009493675.html

Re:well... (1)

khr (708262) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847784)

At least no one was hurt. White collar crimes only hurt insurance companies right?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124165229009493675.html [wsj.com]

Maybe there should be a new category, in addition to "white collar" there could be "black stethescope" crimes.

why did BMJ pay Brian Deer to attack Wakefield (-1, Flamebait)

doperative (1958782) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847676)

Re:why did BMJ pay Brian Deer to attack Wakefield (2)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847870)

That's like asking why people believe the earth is round. Big oil is paying billions to convince us that the world is round! We must fight this fraud!

But seriously folks... Dr. Wakefield's conclusion was wrong. His conclusion brought back diseases almost eradicated by vaccinations. Jenny McCarthy uses her "experience" over REAMS and VOLUMES of studies that PROVE NO LINK. I don't care if the BMJ gave Brian Deer a BJ to 'attack' Wakefield. That doesn't make Wakefield right. It doesn't make him more evil. I am so sick of these celebretards getting a bully pulpit to push their horseshit agendas (Oprah, I'm looking at you). STOP listening to famous people who don't know any better than you! (I'm speaking of the royal you in this case, I mean.)

I don't mind a little skepticism... but FFS, why in Jehovah's name are we giving anything like this even a MICROSECOND of our attention when vaccinations are SAFE and WORK? It boggles the mind. Wakefield has poisoned the well... it's going to take DECADES to undo what he and Jenny and Oprah have wrought... All because someone has an autistic kid and reads on the internet that MMR caused it. IT MUST BE TRUE!

The trap of a simple world view (4, Interesting)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847680)

I like the media. Everything is simple in the media. They can side with a certain viewpoint for a few years, implicitly calling everyone who doesn't agree, an idiot, selecting their guests and questions to only maintain the illusion of being neutral, while having a clear bias.

Then suddenly, something happens, new information becomes apparent and an endless stream of "it turns out that..." articles flood the public. Everything we proclaimed bad is now good, everything good, is now bad. Panic, people, for you were caught off guard again. The savior was the devil himself.

Media can repeatedly turn 180 on themselves and sell panic non-stop. They can even fabricate an issue where none exists, then as we recover, claim the opposite so we panic again. Really nice for ratings, and really suitable for pushing hidden agendas. Here's my world view: People's motives are complex. People's moral compass has more than two poles. Sometimes, good people becomes self deluded. Sometimes, bad people get things right. Sometimes, good studies fudge data, and sometimes, there is commercial interests behind a genuinely good cause.

Am I saying Andrew Wakefield was "right" and vaccines are "bad"? No. Am I saying get yourself all the vaccine shots, and all the seasonal flu ones, always because they are "good"? No. Because the world is just more complex than that. Some vaccines have helped us rid of serious conditions, and ultimately made and keep making the world a better place, while other are just peddled for profit with little or no scientific support behind them. I'm not going into details, because I'm not trying to sell you a certain viewpoint on this "scandal" as correct.

I'm only trying to bring recognition that in the media cycle we're in now, Wakefield is an evil incarnate who never even believed his own studies, who never ever had a honest thought in his life, and vaccines are as harmless as drinking purified water. You'll see one-sided "fact checks". You'll see journalist display clear dislike of Wakefield while pretending to interview him. You'll see them reiterate how wrong everyone always was.

Until the next cycle.

Re:The trap of a simple world view (2)

sonamchauhan (587356) | more than 3 years ago | (#34848164)

> I'm not going into details, because I'm not trying to sell you a certain viewpoint on this "scandal" as correct.

Your post is thoughtful and well expressed. I'd love to get your viewpoints on the vaccine issue.

The sad part is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847698)

that it won't make a difference. Those who believe in a link between autism and vaccines will continue to do so, no matter what evidence to the contrary is offered.

Re:The sad part is... (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847726)

How many children will die or suffer lifelong complications from preventable diseases because their parents got scared of vaccines by his unethical greed?

I hope so... (1)

Gunkerty Jeb (1950964) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847756)

I hope this is illegal.

he wasn't the only one with profit based motives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847804)

his motives were profit based, just like the vaccine companies motives for distributing more vaccines are profit based.

Re:he wasn't the only one with profit based motive (1)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#34847946)


Pharmaceutical companies make relatively little money with vaccines. They make far more money on chronic disease and continuous medication.

The world is far better off with vaccines and "big pharma" than without.

Tom Insel quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34847960)

"Big Pharma is corrupt." -- Tom Insel, director of NIMH

This is really great news for me (5, Informative)

Revek (133289) | more than 3 years ago | (#34848102)

As the parent of an autistic child I always thought this one was bullshit. I witnessed my sons development. My family was convinced it was a result of the vaccines. He was normal and suddenly he stopped all the babble. Started staring into space for long periods of time. I think I'm the only one who noticed it happening before the vaccines. Its like no one looked before that. At least now when someone tells me that was the cause I can at least tell them it was a scam.

It's my fault (1)

glyphi (661141) | more than 3 years ago | (#34848114)

I talked him into it because I own a bullwhip factory. Now I should start to cash in big time - but I won't because I'm going to give them away.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>