Published On: Thu, Jan 5th, 2012

Discredited physician Andrew Wakefield sues British Medical Journal


Dr. Andrew Wakefield, the British physician whose controversial 1998 MMR (measles, mumps and rubella)-autism study was retracted from the medical journal Lancet after 12 years in 2010, is suing the British Medical Journal (BMJ) for defamation.

Photo/CDC- Amanda Mills

Wakefield filed suit in Austin, Texas against BMJ exactly one year after a series of articles were published accusing the doctor of fraud.

The article and accompanying editorials published in January 2011 in the BMJ titled “Secrets of the MMR scare: how the case against the MMR vaccine was fixed”.

The lawsuit claims the BMJ “acted with malice” and damaged Wakefield’s character, reputation, and earning potential by accusing him of “misreporting and [data] alteration” and “deliberate fraud.”

According to an article in Science published today, the brief names three defendants: investigative journalist Brian Deer, who analyzed Wakefield’s data in a BMJ article and accused him of fraud, BMJ editor Fiona Godlee, who threw the journal’s support behind the fraud accusation in an editorial, and BMJ as a whole.

The Wakefield suit also claims conflict of interest stating that BMJ receives money from vaccine makers GlaxoSmithKline and Merck.

Two years ago, Dr. Andrew Wakefield was found guilty by the General Medical Council in Britain of dishonesty and ethics violations and was removed from the medical register.

One year ago, Bill Gates said in a CNN interview that he holds Wakefield and the fraudulent study responsible for the deaths of thousands of children:

“Dr. Wakefield has been shown to have used absolutely fraudulent data. He had a financial interest in some lawsuits, he created a fake paper, the journal allowed it to run. All the other studies were done, showed no connection whatsoever again and again and again. So it’s an absolute lie that has killed thousands of kids. Because the mothers who heard that lie, many of them didn’t have their kids take either pertussis or measles vaccine, and their children are dead today. And so the people who go and engage in those anti-vaccine efforts — you know, they, they kill children. It’s a very sad thing, because these vaccines are important.”


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About the Author

- Robert Herriman, MPH,M(ASCP) is a health, politics and world news writer at the

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