Australian Vaccination Network.
Wakefield learns that honesty is not necessarily the best policy in medicine

February 23, 2004 (for immediate release)

Dr. Andrew Wakefield, formerly of the Royal Free Hospital in London, has
found that the whistle-blower's lot is a lonely and thankless one.

First, he had the audacity to listen to parents who came to him for
help, saying that their children became Autistic after receiving an MMR

Then, he published his results in the Lancet in 1998 which did not claim
that the MMR caused Autism but simply moved forward an hypothesis which
said that this connection needed further study.

At the time, the Lancet was so concerned about the outcry that might
arise should this information be made public, that they subjected the
article to twice the number of peer-reviewers they normally would and it
was found to be valid enough to print.

Since that time, Dr. Wakefield and many other independent researchers
have published article after article adding to the weight of evidence
linking the MMR and other vaccines with the onset of this disease whose
effects are life-long and whose incidence has increased by over 1300% in
the last decade.

Now, almost 6 years later, the Lancet has decided that Wakefield had a
conflict of interest which should not have allowed this article to be
printed. They say he should have revealed that the hospital he was
working for had received funding for research into the MMR vaccine -
even though these funds were for a completely separate study. As Dr.
Wakefield has said in a statement issued to the public today, "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."

It is an admitted fact that the majority of peer-reivewed articles
published in mainstream medical journals today are written by
researchers who both openly and in private have strong financial ties to
the drugs or procedures about which they are writing.

In addition, both British and Australian doctors have a strong financial
interest in ensuring that parents vaccinate their children whilst they
make nothing and may even be financially penalised should parents say no
to vaccines. Under the federal government's General Practice
Immunisation Initiative, these incentives may total tens of thousands of
dollars per doctor per year! Why aren't these conflicts being brought to
the public's attention? Why aren't doctors being called before review
boards to account for their perfidy?

Dr. Wakefield lost his job because he was honest enough to say what he
had found to be the truth - no matter what the outcome would be for the
drug companies. He lost his career and in fact, he lost his country,
having to move across the pond to the US in order to find work. Both he
and his family have lost so much through their integrity and persistent
refusal to toe the pharmaceutical line.

If anyone stands to gain by the suppression of this research, it is the
government which is facing the loss of billions of pounds through
lawsuits on behalf of families whose children have suffered from
vaccination and the pharmaceutical companies whose profits are likewise
at risk.

There is nothing that makes a pharmaceutical company any more ethical
than a tobacco company and in fact, these tactics are reminiscent of the
way in which those multinational giants treated those who had the nerve
to claim that tobacco caused cancer and a raft of other illnesses -
links which today, we accept without question.

Dr. Wakefield will have his name and his reputation cleared for the
simple reason that he has done nothing wrong.

For further comment, please contact Meryl Dorey, President of the
Australian Vaccination Network.

Phone: 02 6687 1699

FAX: 02 6687 2032

Mobile - 0414 872 032