Michelle Fay Cortez
February 2, 2010
The Lancet medical journal retracted a 1998 study that linked a routine childhood vaccine to autism and bowel disease after a U.K. investigation found flaws in the research.
[efoods]The U.K. General Medical Council, which licenses doctors, concluded in a report last week that three researchers led by Andrew Wakefield at the Royal Free Hospital in London carried out invasive, unnecessary tests, failed to act in the best interest of the children, and misused public funds. It also said Wakefield didn’t disclose a conflict of interest as he was involved in legal claims against the vaccine makers.
“It has become clear that several elements of the 1998 paper by Wakefield et al are incorrect, contrary to the findings of an earlier investigation,” the editors of the Lancet wrote in a statement today.
Immunization rates plunged in the U.K. to less than 80 percent by 2003, as parents concerned about the possible health risks refused the vaccine, according to the Health Protection Agency. Ten of the 12 authors, in a 2004 article in the Lancet, backed away from the suggestion that autism and bowel disease were linked to the vaccine. A panel of U.S. government advisers found the same year that childhood vaccinations probably don’t raise the risk of autism.