LETTER: Conspiracy theories have been debunked

March 19th, 2016 5:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

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SIR – In response to Theresa Heaney’s letter of March 10th, 2016, a little reality check is needed here in relation to the conspiracy theories rampantly accusing ‘Big Pharma,’ governments and mainstream media as guilty of deliberately ignoring so called proof that vaccines cause autism.

On 28 January 2010 - after 197 days of evidence, submissions and deliberations - a panel of three doctors and two lay members hearing the General Medical Council GMC case handed down verdicts which branded Wakefield ‘dishonest,’ ‘unethical’ and ‘callous,’ they found him guilty (against a criminal standard of proof) of some three dozen charges, including four counts of dishonesty and 12 involving the abuse of developmentally-challenged children. His research was found to be ‘dishonest and performed without ethical approval.”

This damning verdict was based on serious ethical and financial conflicts of interest, which had been unearthed during the investigation about Wakefields supposed independent research. With conflicts of interest going back a number of years before the so-called study.

The list is long, initially unearthed by the investigative journalist Brian Deer and available to view on the GMC court documents, should anyone wish to research the amount of money (public and private) which Wakefield received and his plans, which included a patent for a single measles vaccine taken out nine months before the original (now disgraced and debunked) Lancet report.

 The claim that he could not afford to clear his name is frankly laughable in the extreme.

As for the 28 studies apparently proving Wakefield’s findings, please be aware that there have been more than 107 extensive studies and reviews in recent years involving many thousands of cases which prove that there is no link between autism
and vaccines.

As for endangering children, there exists today a multi-million euro Bio-medical quack industry which is riding the very wave created by anti-vaccine campaigners and disgraced individuals such as Andrew Wakefield, who are spreading fear and distrust of the so-called establishment (that’s regular doctors, pharmaceutical companies, mainstream media, the government) to you and me.

The result is an increasing incidence and the threatened return of long-eradicated diseases bringing sickness and fatalities, which are avoidable and treatable. 

The panic and fear is largely driven by the so-called autism epidemic and it has spawned a myriad so-called cures and treatments, which are unregulated, unproven and often abusive and dangerous. Let’s not forget these so-called cures are very lucrative for those who promote, sell and administer them.

Also the rise in the number of children being diagnosed is in fact largely due to improved diagnostic criteria and understanding of the autistic condition, which has existed for generations. It is a statistical fact that the majority of people who are on the autistic spectrum today are on the mild, or higher functioning scale, the very people who would have slipped by without a diagnosis in the past.

Gone are the days when children and adults on the autistic spectrum would simply be left to themselves, or more often than not be shut away in institutions, out of sight and out of mind. 

Calling once again for a discussion of the false and repeatedly-debunked claims made by people like Andrew Wakefield is in my opinion dangerous. When the insidiousness of conspiracy rears its ugly head, it is our duty to call it out and challenge the warped logic which it pertains to be truth.

Tim O’Leary,

Autistic Rights Together,

West Cork.

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