In the UK, there was then litigation by children against the manufacturers of the drug. I became involved in that litigation. Patients within the Lancet Study also became involved. Once they got their diagnosis, and they were convinced that this is what happened, then the joined the litigation. It was alleged that the study was done for the purpose of litigation, indeed that it was funded by lawyers for litigation.
That is absolutely untrue. It simply was not. I agreed to be a medical expert, and I feel obliged to act as a medical expert on their behalf, because there were any number of doctors lining up on the other side, to be paid as experts, to act on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry.
One of the allegations against me is that I had acted on behalf of lawyers, I was being paid by lawyers to do the Lancet Study. In fact, I was being paid for by a government funded compensation program to act as a medical expert. It had nothing whatsoever to do with the Lancet Study, which was paid for by the National Health Service. They payment from the Legal Aid Board was not to me initially. It was to the medical school to conduct a study, to look for evidence of measles virus in the diseased intestine of these children. That is what it specifically did.
This was known to the editor of the Lancet nearly a year before the paper was published. He was sent documents from the lawyer saying, “We are working with Doctor Andy Wakefield on this issue.” He knew, or should have known, but conveniently, he forgot that fact when it came to testify before the General Medical Council under oath. It was only subsequently that it was disclosed that he knew all along.
— Andrew Wakefield, MD