Andrew Wakefield sues BMJ for claiming MMR study was fraudulent

Jan 05, 12

Andrew Wakefield, the doctor who became famous after linking autism to the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, is suing the editor-in-chief of the British Medical Journal (BMJ) for defamation in a district court in Texas.

The lawsuit also names Brian Deer as a defendant, the British journalist who covered the controversy and accused Wakefield of
“fraudulently and intentionally manipulating and falsifying data and diagnoses.” In a statement, the BMJ said:

“While we await formal service, unsurprisingly the BMJ and Mr. Deer stand by the material published in the BMJ and their other statements and confirm that they have instructed lawyers to defend the claim vigorously.”

Defending the claims vigorously will likely include invoking Texas’ new anti-SLAPP law.

Laura Lee Prather, PPP Board member and partner at Sedgwick LLP in Texas, formed and led the coalition that was behind the enactment of anti-SLAPP legislation in Texas last year.  She told PPP the following about Wakefield’s case:

“The case brought against BMJ seems to be a clear effort to retaliate against them for exercising their free speech rights. This case is ripe to be the first in which a Texas federal court has the opportunity to apply the state’s new anti-SLAPP law.”

Many in Texas, including the Dallas Morning News, have also supported PPP’s efforts to enact federal anti-SLAPP legislation.

Read more about the Wakefield case from The Guardian here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/jan/05/andrew-wakefield-sues-bmj-mmr

4 Comments

  1. Mr. Wakefield waited until almost the last minute to file his complaint. Nearly a year (statute of limitations) after the BMJ articles were run. Had he filed right away he would have avoided the possibility of the anti-SLAPP

    Is this irony or strategy? Is he trying to get his case thrown out or is he just poorly advised?

  2. Perhaps Ms. Prather ought to disclose the fact that her firm represents pharma clients:

    “Sedgwick’s corporate attorneys have significant experience representing multinational and domestic companies, from startups to small and midsized entities to Fortune 500 corporations. The firm’s expertise spans a diverse range of industries, including insurance, financial services, chemicals, pharmaceutical, biotech and other life sciences, food and beverage, hospitality, media, entertainment and sports, fashion, consumer products, energy, industrial manufacturing, real estate, and technology. Our corporate attorneys counsel clients on all facets of their business law needs from formation, corporate governance, and daily operations to transactional matters, often acting as outside general counsel to many of our clients. In addition to representing operating companies, we regularly represent angel, venture capital, and other investors in various industries.”

  3. Indeed, Ms.Prather should disclose that she is part of the world-wide conspiracy against Wakefield that is so intent on destroying him that she began years ago to work for the newly-enacted anti-SLAPP law specifically to keep Wakefield from proving in a Texas court that he was defamed, which is of course equivalent to proving that his resoundingly-refuted hypothesis is actually correct, or something . . .

  4. patricia /

    Andrew wakefield’s hypothesis cannot be dispproved. It is a hypothesis. It is meaningless to say that because others have tried to replicate his findings and failed therefore his hypothesis is unproven or fraudulent. His work as everyone who has followed this case closely knows, has in fact been replicated.
    As with every vaccine there are injuries to some, without doubt. The key argument here, which is absolutely legitimate and vital, is whether parents should be allowed to make their own decisions on vaccinations and things appear to be moving in a most sinister direction against this idea. What the Public Health Authorities are insisting on is the manadatory herd protection policy. This is a violation of any human rights.
    Therefore Andy Wakefield has a perfectly legitimate right to voice that he has concerns about the MMR vaccine and to go on saying that, in the face of so called “respectable medical opinion”. This argument about “medical opinion” is farcical. There are so many “experts” with conflicting opinions on almost aspects of modern medicine. Including those who publicly support Andrew Wakefield. It is ALL opinion and statistics. Oh yes, statistics….
    To bring out statistics on deaths from measles because of Andrew Wakefield is pure nonsense. Has anyone ever attempted to discover the amount of deaths reported by the MoH from anaphylaxis in particular on booster shots? Have there been comparisons made? The whole of the MR campaign was a mass experiment by the MoH on the children of the UK. Did they have to apply to an ethical commitee for permission first? Were parents properly informed about certain risks? Answers no.
    What the BMJ and the Pharma industry and the UK government who have indemnified this vaccine, make a note of that fact, and a self promoting journalist named Brian Deer have been hell bent on achieving for the last 8 years is simply the destruction of dissent. This is malicious intent.
    Andy Wakefield has had enough of being stalked and harassed and insulted and called a liar and a fraud. The man was quite simply doing his job. And no, I don’t believe he is a hero. But neither is he a crank, or a liar.

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