Last week we reported the British Medical Journal's conclusion that Andrew Wakefield's now-infamous study linking childhood vaccines to autism was "an elaborate fraud." In a follow-up editorial, the Journal alleges Wakefield's motive for faking his study was the potential for huge financial gain.
Author Brian Deer says Wakefield planned to make big money developing and marketing his own "safer" vaccines--as well as diagnostic test kits--after causing the public distrust of traditional vaccines. Deer notes that Wakefield discussed deals with medical school managers before his study was even complete. The former doctor "planned secret businesses intended to make huge sums of money, in Britain and America, from his now-discredited allegations," the BMJ said in a release.
Even though Wakefield's 1998 study has been discredited, many vaccine doubters continue to avoid childhood vaccines, fearing they can lead to autism. Wakefield was banned from practicing medicine in his home country after a U.K. panel of medical experts castigated him for professional misconduct.