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MMR scandal: Was there a cover-up?

Since this article was first posted on 6 January, Brian Deer has stuck the knife in one last time in the third and final of his investigatory papers. Today he channels his criticism at the role The Lancet and the medical community played in what he claims was an apparent cover-up of the flaws in the original research paper.

Deer says that if the case had not eventually been brought to the General Medical Council "the fraud by which Wakefield concocted fear of MMR would forever have been denied and covered up".

The Lancet has issued a statement in reply. The journal stands by its decisions and says that by retracting the names of 10 of the 13 authors of the paper in 2004, and by the full retraction of the paper after the GMC hearing, it was acting according to the evidence it had at the time. It doesn't address the specific examples that Deer highlights in his article - in particular the findings that the research wasn't ethically approved. It ends by stating that "we all have a shared responsibility" towards maximising the opportunities that vaccines will provide in the future.

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