Authored by Andrew Wakefield and 12 others, the paper’s scientific limitations were clear when it appeared in 1998.2 3 As the ensuing vaccine scare took off, critics quickly pointed out that the paper was a small case series with no controls, linked three common conditions, and relied on parental recall and beliefs.4 Over the following decade, epidemiological studies consistently found no evidence of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism.5 6 7 8 By the time the paper was finally retracted 12 years later,9 after forensic dissection at the General Medical Council’s (GMC) longest ever fitness to practise hearing,10 few people could deny that it was fatally flawed both scientifically and ethically. But it has taken the diligent scepticism of one man, standing outside medicine and science, to show that the paper was in fact an elaborate fraud.
For UHM users only:
BMJ. 2010 Feb 2;340:c696. doi: 10.1136/bmj.c696.
How the case against the MMR vaccine was fixed
BMJ. 2011 Jan 5;342:c7452. doi: 10.1136/bmj.c7452.
Wakefield's article linking MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent.
Autism Fraud-New York Times Editorial