Andrew Wakefield sues BMJ for claiming MMR study was fraudulent
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