February 22, 2004

THE LANCET has retracted a study on autism and vaccination:

Editor Dr. Richard Horton said Dr. Andrew Wakefield and a team of British scientists who conducted the study on the triple measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine didn’t reveal that they were being paid by a legal-aid service looking into whether families could sue over the immunizations.

Horton called it a “fatal conflict of interest.”

More importantly, the study has been discredited by other research. Still, this should put paid to the notion that drug companies are the only source of conflicts of interest where this sort of thing is concerned. If more people get sick because this study has led to fewer vaccinations (as seems to be the case) should the scientists and the legal-aid people be liable? (Via Howard Lovy).

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