For the handful of you who don’t know him, Mr. Andrew Wakefield fraudulently alleged a connection between the MMR vaccine, for measles, mumps and rubella) and autism – this has had the effect of suppressing vaccination rates in many countries. His claims were published in a now retracted paper published in the Lancet, a mostly respected medical journal who seemed to have forgotten how to do proper peer review back in the late 1990’s. This is a quick review of the Andrew Wakefield fraud.
Dorit Rubinstein Reiss – Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law (San Francisco, CA) – is a frequent contributor to this blog. She had posted an article that debunks the myth that Andrew Wakefield is probably innocent of all charges made against him by the UK’s General Medical Council (GMC). Basically, some of the antivaccination crowd believes that because Wakefield’s partner in the fraud, Professor John Walker-Smith, had his own decision by the GMC overturned, it is considered evidence that Andrew Wakefield was wronged when the GMC found Wakefield, too, guilty of serious ethical violations. But that would be an incorrect interpretation of the facts. Continue reading “Once more about Andrew Wakefield fraud extraordinaire”
On September 19, 2014 the Third Court of Appeals of Texas rejected Andrew Wakefield’s appeal against the decision of a Texas trial court that it had no jurisdiction to hear his libel suit against The British Medical Journal (the original article), Brian Deer, and Fiona Godlee. The details of that case and the suggestion that Andrew Wakefield was strategically using litigation to both rally supporters and deter critics have been previously addressed.
Andrew Wakefield had 45 days to appeal the decision to the Texas Supreme Court (Tex. R. App. P. 53.7). That time ended on November 3–an appeal was not filed by Mr. Wakefield within that time. Continue reading “Andrew Wakefield keeps trying–another appeal”
Because I give full-throated support to the development, manufacturing and use of vaccines, one might think I was some sort of promoter of the pharmaceutical industry. In fact, I care about vaccines generically, and do not care about the system that gets vaccines into the hand of physicians. Frankly, pharmaceutical companies have the money and means to investigate new vaccines and improve old ones, which means it’s our only choice.
Maybe it would be better if the CDC or WHO were responsible for vaccines (and more or less, they are, but not for the manufacturing), but governments come and go, and there would be varying levels of support for the research. I could imagine a time where an antivaccination candidate running for US President would demand the cessation of government support of vaccine research and manufacturing, thus ending supplies of vaccines to US citizens. That would be a horrible scenario. But let’s assume that the 90-95% of Americans who vaccinate won’t vote for someone that delusional.
Pharmaceutical companies have done many wonderful things for humanity, and part of the reason we can live longer, while still being productive, is almost exclusively a result of pharmaceutical and medical innovations, especially over the past 20 years. I’m not going to list out every single revolutionary invention out of the pharmaceutical industry, but in the areas of cancer medications, antibiotics, vaccines, cardiovascular and orthopedic devices, and a few other areas, Big Medical (because it’s really more than just pharma) allows you to live longer and better. Continue reading “Drug company withholds critical data for physician decision making”