Tag Archives: medicine

Wakefield, Ratajczak and Vaccines

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Back in January, an all out media war seemed to be declared against Andrew Wakefield.

Who?

Andrew Wakefield is the lead scientist that was studying the relationship between certain vaccines and autism.

The Current on CBC did a story with Wakefield on January 27, 2011 and he was asked if he believed he did anything wrong.  The answer was no.  If that’s the case, why isn’t he suing his peers and other organizations for libel?  His response was that the legal fees alone would cost more than 500,000 British pounds, but the lack of action doesn’t seem to do him justice.

Recently, another doctor finally ‘came out’ and declared that vaccines had an unsavoury connection with autism. The article in the Journal of Immunotoxicology is entitled “Theoretical aspects of autism: Causes–A review.” The author is Helen Ratajczak, a former senior scientist at a pharmaceutical firm. Ratajczak did what nobody else apparently has bothered to do: she reviewed the body of published science since autism was first described in 1943. Not just one theory suggested by research such as the role of MMR shots, or the mercury preservative thimerosal; but all of them.

The story was covered (surprisingly) by CBS News.  When CBS asked why she felt so confident about her research, they added these comments:

A number of independent scientists have said they’ve been subjected to orchestrated campaigns to discredit them when their research exposed vaccine safety issues, especially if it veered into the topic of autism. We asked Ratajczak how she came to research the controversial topic. She told us that for years while working in the pharmaceutical industry, she was restricted as to what she was allowed to publish. “I’m retired now,” she told CBS News. “I can write what I want.”

Obviously, this paints a grim picture.  To what extent are we getting industry funded research that obfuscates the really important conclusions?

This is a classic example of why I describe myself as a social libertarian.  Sure … make the drugs, do your own research, but everything you want to sell to, pump into, prescribe, consume or produce has to go through a rigorous set of third-party public reviews where NO ONE on the review board is getting paid off by the companies seeking approval.

Yeah, it’s a pipe-dream, but we can certainly do better than the blind faith we have in deregulation and ‘the magical markets’ that will cure all.