The paper's other conclusion was more of a commentary than science but it created such controversy that it led ultimately to a witch hunt against Dr. Wakefield. The doctors noted that the parents of 8 of the 12 children studied said their child had regressed into autism after receiving their MMR vaccine. The doctors debated whether to include these parental comments but decided in favor of including the information to aid further research. Here is all they said, "In most cases, onset of symptoms was after measles, mumps, and rubella immunization. Further investigations are needed to examine this syndrome and its possible relation to this vaccine...We did not prove an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described."
That's all. It was that minor of a comment. How could a paper that dutifully reported the feedback of parents of eight children cause a scandal? But indeed it did. Dr. Wakefield was eventually smeared, slammed, and destroyed. False narratives circulate how he "faked the data" about vaccines and autism. But that is impossible because the doctors never reported any data in the first place! Dr. Wakefield has been called a "baby killer." At a press conference to discuss the paper, he stated his concerns about the combination MMR vaccine not being adequately safety tested compared to the single vaccines. He recommended the parents in England get the three separate single vaccines for measles, mumps, and rubella rather than the combination MMR vaccine.
In 2004, facing extreme pressure and the threat of losing their careers, ten of the original coauthors of The Lancet paper, published a statement under the title, "Retraction of an Interpretation" where they said there was no causal link established between the MMR vaccine and autism. Of course, this is what the original paper stated but two coauthors, Dr. Wakefield and Dr. Walker-Smith, were unwilling to sign. They viewed it as coercion - a violation of principle and professional ethics. As a result, they were both put on "trial." It wasn't a court trial. It was a 'medical board' trial by the General Medical Council, the governing board in the UK for licensing medical doctors (similar to our AMA). They were both stripped of their medical license. Dr. Walker-Smith chose to take his case to a real English court and had all the charges against him reversed. He was fully restored to his medical practice and profession. The judge even reproved the General Medical Council for the way they handled the charges. Dr. Wakefield did not bother to fight it.
Today (20 years later) there is much more incriminating data implicating vaccines and the epidemic of autism. J.B. Handley in his book, How to End the Autism Epidemic states, "...to say Dr. Wakefield's paper was fraudulent and therefore vaccines are safe would fail any logic test, since Dr. Wakefield's paper did no analysis or study whatsoever about the relationship between a single vaccine (MMR) and autism but rather simply reported parental feedback. And on every other vaccine children receive, the paper was silent. Anyone who claims that because Dr. Wakefield's data was fraudulent and therefore the DTP, hep B, polio, Hib, flu, and varicella vaccines are all safe is hoping you never do your own research. What's more amazing to me is how much more incriminating science we now have, directly implicating vaccines in the epidemic of autism. We actually have very real data! In most cases it's biological studies that demonstrates exactly how a vaccine can trigger autism. And the dozens of study authors of these new studies are making declarations about vaccines far bolder than anything Dr. Wakefield ever said, and yet somehow the demonic mythology around Dr. Wakefield persists."
Vioxx was a pain reliever created by Merck and it caused 500,000 heart attacks. The drug industry is rampant with fraud. It is suspected that more people died from that drug (about 58,000), than the number of American soldiers who died during the Vietnam War. We have all heard about the Vietnam War but who knows about Vioxx deaths? Merck is the largest vaccine maker in the world. During the lawsuit about Vioxx injury in Australia, Merck documents were discovered that showed Merck had a "doctor hit list." Concerning any doctor who spoke poorly about Vioxx to their patients, "we may need to seek them out and destroy them where they live." Other documents were produced that showed Merck would "stop funding to institutions" and "interfere with academic appointments" if any academic institutions produced research questioning Vioxx's safety. And this was for a drug that Merck already knew (based on their own internal research) was causing heart attacks. This is how Big Pharma rolls. Cross them and they annihilate you. This is what happened to Dr. Andrew Wakefield. It's called getting Wakefielded. For more information on vaccines, see my book, There's An Elephant in the Room - Exposing Hidden Truths in the Science of Health.