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Wakefield tells GMC he was motivated by concern for autistic children

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 03 April 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:738
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. 1London

The doctor at the centre of a major public health scare over vaccinations gave evidence this week before a General Medical Council panel, where he and two colleagues stand accused of research misconduct.

Andrew Wakefield, whose research paper and comments in 1998 linking the combined measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism led to a sharp fall in uptake of the vaccine, told the hearing that he was motivated by concern for autistic children.

He read out a letter that he had sent in 1997 to John Walker-Smith, now also accused of misconduct by the GMC, in which he wrote: “If these diseases are found to be linked to the MMR vaccine, these children are the few unfortunate who have been sacrificed to protect the majority.”

In that letter he defended his involvement with solicitors acting on behalf of parents seeking compensation from vaccine manufacturers. Six years after the publication …

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