Physician in vaccine-autism scandal sues journal for defamation

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Jan. 23, 2012

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A doctor accused of fraud for linking autism to vaccines is suing the British medical journal BMJ, which reported that his assertions were bogus.

Dr. Andrew Wakefield filed a lawsuit Jan. 3 in Travis County District Court in Texas against BMJ . He claims that the journal defamed him by running articles and editorials accusing him of "manipulating and falsifying data" in his study. The reports were "malicious" and caused him humiliation, a harmed reputation and loss of earnings, he said in the suit.

In January 2011, BMJ editors said Dr. Wakefield misled readers with his 1998 article in The Lancet that purported to link autism and bowel disease to the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. The editors concluded that Dr. Wakefield "altered numerous facts about the patients' medical histories in order to support his claim to have identified a new syndrome" and "sought to exploit the ensuing MMR scare for financial gain."

In 2010, Dr. Wakefield's license to practice medicine in Britain was revoked, and The Lancet retracted his article. In 2009, judges in a special U.S. federal court rejected a link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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