The Last Day of Andrew Wakefield’s Defence at the General Medical Council
Posted Apr 30 2009 12:00am
By John Stone
On the last day of his summing up of the defence case for Andrew Wakefield, defence counsel Kieran Coonan at one point remarked about the allegation that Andrew Wakefield had breached medical ethics and the terms of his contract by administering an unusual medication (Transfer Factor) to a patient (patient 10 in the “Lancet Study”) that “this pursuit by the prosecution of Dr Wakefield at all costs was unattractive” (reminding us all also of a certain journalist). Coonan spent the better part of the morning forensically demolishing the prosecutions claims about this matter. By the time the evidence was heard it had transpired that ethical permission for the use of this medication had been sought jointly by Wakefield and John Walker-Smith and received from the Ethics Committee (Dr Lloyd), that Wakefield had obtained the medication and deposited it in the hospital pharmacy (where it would have been issued on prescription), and a prosecution witness had declared the medication to be completely safe: “no more dangerous than drinking goat’s milk” (Dr Lachman).