Statement from Dr Andrew Wakefield
Feb 2004

Serious allegations have been made against me and my colleagues in relation
to the provision of clinical care for children with autism and bowel
disease, and the subsequent reporting of their disease.

These allegations have been made by journalist Brian Deer who has
expressed, in front of witnesses, his aim of destroying me.

All but one of the allegations, which are grossly defamatory, have been
shown to be baseless. One allegation remains against me personally.

That is, that I did not disclose to the Lancet that a minority of the 12
children in the 1998 Lancet report were also part of a quite separate study
that was funded in part by the Legal Aid Board .

It is the Lancet's opinion but not mine that such a disclosure should have
been made since it may have been perceived as a conflict of interest. This
is despite that fact that the funding was provided for a separate
scientific study.

It needs to be made clear that the funds from the Legal Aid Board were not
used for the 1998 Lancet study, and therefore I perceived that no financial
conflict of interest existed.

The Lancet defines a conflict of interest as anything that might embarrass
the author if it were to be revealed later. I am not embarrassed since it
is a matter of fact that there was no conflict of interest. I am, however,
dismayed at the way these facts have been misrepresented. 

Whether or not the children's parents were pursuing, or intended to pursue
litigation against the vaccine manufacturers, had no bearing on any
clinical decision in relation to these children, or their inclusion in the
Lancet 1998 report.

It is a matter of fact that there was no conflict of interest at any time
in relation to the medical referral of these children, their clinical
investigation and care, and the subsequent reporting of their disease in
the Lancet.

As far as the 1998 Lancet report is concerned, it is a matter of fact that
we found and reported inflammation in the intestines of these children. 

The grant of 55,000 was paid not me but to the Royal Free Hospital Special
Trustees for my research group to conduct studies on behalf of the Legal
Aid Board. These research funds were properly administered through the
Royal Free Hospital Special Trustees. 

The Legal Aid research grant to my group was used exclusively for the
purpose of conducting an examination of any possible connection between the
component viruses of the MMR - particularly measles virus - and the bowel
disease in these children. This is entirely in line with other studies that
have been funded by the Legal Aid Board (latterly the Legal Services
Commission) and reported in the BMJ . If and when this work is finally
published, due acknowledgement will be made of all sources of funding.

It is unfortunate that, following full disclosure of these facts to the
editor of the Lancet, he stated that in retrospect he would not have
published facts pertinent to the parent's perceived association with MMR
vaccine in the 1998 Lancet report. Such a position has major implications
for the scientific investigation of injuries that might be caused by drugs
or vaccines, such as Gulf War Syndrome and autism, where possible victims
may be seeking medical help and also legal redress.

Health Secretary John Reid has called for a public enquiry. I welcome this
since I have already called for a public enquiry that addresses the whole
issue in relation vaccines and autism.

It has been proposed that my role in this matter should be investigated by
the General Medical Council (GMC). I not only welcome this, I insist on it
and I will be making contact with the GMC personally, in the forthcoming
week.

This whole unpleasant episode has been conflated to provide those opposed
to addressing genuine concerns about vaccine safety with an opportunity of
attacking me - an attack that is out of all proportion to the facts of the
matter.

I stand by everything that I have done in relation to the care,
investigation and reporting of the disease that I and my colleagues have
discovered in these desperately ill children.

My family and I have suffered many setbacks as a direct consequence of this
work. As a family, we consider that our problems are nothing compared with
the suffering of these children and their families. For the sake of these
children, this work will continue.