Many share blame for this appalling episode, but as Lisa Rickard reminds us, trial lawyers who backed Andrew Wakefield played a special role [Forbes "Apothecary"] Earlier here, etc.
Yes, America’s Most Irresponsible Public Figure® is at it again. [Orac, Respectful Insolence] For good measure, the celebrity environmentalist/wayward scion, speaking in Chicago at a conference called Autism One, is quoted as saying of Dr. Paul Offit and other vaccine scientists, “They should be in jail and the key should be thrown away.” [Age of Autism]
Update: As of Tues. June 3 in the afternoon, the AoA blog post has been taken down. [h/t Justin Miller]
The EEOC says Comfort Suites dismissed the clerk when it should instead have accepted the services of a state-paid “job coach” who might have “helped the clerk learn to master his job by using autism-specific training techniques.” [EEOC press release, Fox San Diego]
Six years late, the online publication is throwing in the towel on a notorious venture into antiscientific claptrap by America’s Most Irresponsible Public Figure®, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Meanwhile, Carter at Point of Law reports that the newly civility-aware celebrity environmentalist will be headlining a “Progressive Voices Cruise” of the Caribbean that by total coincidence will also feature attorney Michael Papantonio, with whose Levin Papantonio injury-law firm the hothead scion has long been associated, a connection curiously absent from his current Wikipedia page and most other coverage (& welcome Jonathan Adler readers).
A British Medical Journal editorial confirms that scientific misconduct by then-Dr. Andrew Wakefield was even worse than previously assumed. The resulting media-fueled panic led parents to refuse vaccination in large numbers, and childhood scourges such as measles soared as a result, with disability and even death resulting. Wakefield was being financed by lawyers hoping to sue the vaccine industry. [Respectful Insolence, CNN, AP, Adler]
“Three lawyers say they were just engaging in legitimate speech about the 1-800-Ask-Gary [lawyer-referral] hot line. Not amused, the people behind Ask Gary sued.” [Tampa Tribune] Separately, the hotline’s founder, Sarasota chiropractor Gary Kompothecras, has drawn press attention for the active role he’s taken in the autism-vaccine wars. [Miami New Times and followups here and here]
Such at least is one reading of the federal government’s unusual decision to settle the Hannah Poling vaccine compensation claim [Michael Krauss at PoL]
At his highly interesting QuackWatch site, where he is scathingly critical of many alternative therapies, Stephen Barrett has expressed the view that some tests frequently prescribed by “chelation” practitioners (who address a variety of ills through techniques designed to remove heavy metals from the body) are inaccurate and misleading. Now a laboratory of which Barrett has been critical has sued him and several related entities, demanding $10 million [QuackWatch, Respectful Insolence]
So puzzling and inexplicable that health insurance rates keep rising. [NYT]
There’s even a comic book about the controversy [Darryl Cunningham via BoingBoing; earlier]
Beck et al see hope in a decision by the Federal Circuit.