Center for Disease Control (CDC) Whistleblowers Reveal Key Data May have Been Omitted from Vaccine-Autism Study Comments Parker Waichman LLP

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Omitted data involved vaccine-autism links involving young African-American boys; omission may have altered study outcomes, say whistleblowers.

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It appears as if by omitting data relating to one of the study’s demographics, the research results were skewed,” said Gary Falkowitz, Managing Attorney at Parker Waichman LLP.

Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm that represents whistleblowers in qui tam and fraud cases, comments on a report regarding a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study regarding autism ties to specific vaccinations, according to an August 28, 2014 CNN report.

The study has led to increasing controversy. A Focus Autism report dated September 11, 2014 indicates that, according to two CDC whistleblowers, statistically significant information may have been left out of study findings concerning research that involved the mumps, measles, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and the vaccine’s ties to autism and African American boys. Study author, Brian Hooker, a biochemical engineer, has come forward to say that he discovered that African-American boys given the MMR vaccination before they reached 24 months were more likely to be diagnosed with autism. Hooker said he reviewed the same data on which the 2004 study conducted by the CDC was based. The 2004 study, conducted by the CDC's National Immunization Program, was published in the journal Pediatrics. Hooker said his research began after he was contacted by one of the CDC’s original study authors, William Thompson, in November 2013. Thompson, who has worked at the CDC since 1998, is a senior scientist with the agency, according to CNN.

Hooker said the increased autism risk for African-American boys he discovered was not identified in the CDC study. The reason for this, said Hooker, is because the researchers—which included Thompson—limited the number of participants included in their analysis. This, according to Thompson, altered the results. "I regret that my co-authors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article," Thompson said in a statement sent to CNN by his lawyer. "I have had many discussions with Dr. Brian Hooker over the last 10 months regarding studies the CDC has carried out regarding vaccines and neurodevelopmental outcomes, including autism spectrum disorders. I share his belief that CDC decision-making and analyses should be transparent."

The 2004 DeStefano et al. study appeared in The American Academy of Pediatrics’ journal, Pediatrics, on July 15, 2003.

According to Parker Waichman LLP, whistleblowers are crucial to detecting and stopping potential wrongdoings, which may lead to public harm. This case is another example of whistleblowers exposing alleged or potential wrongdoings in an effort to protect and advise the public.

Dr. Frank DeStefano, who led the 2004 study, said that while he and his colleagues stand by their findings, he does intend on reviewing his notes before deciding if another data analysis should be conducted, according to CNN.

"It appears as if by omitting data relating to one of the study’s demographics, the research results were skewed,” said Gary Falkowitz, Managing Attorney at Parker Waichman LLP. “The whistleblowers in this matter have provided deeper insight into the research conducted by the CDC concerning the MMR vaccine and its potential association with autism.”

Autism Speaks describes autism as a general term for a group of complex brain development disorders that are described as leading to difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors. Some autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) may be tied to intellectual disability, motor coordination challenges, and attention and physical health issues that may include sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances.

Parker Waichman LLP supports efforts to protect whistleblowers and offers free legal evaluations to those individuals who believe their companies may be involved in wrongdoings. If you believe that a consumer product manufacturer, a medical device maker, or a pharmaceutical company is committing fraudulent activities and would like to maintain your anonymity, we encourage you to contact us at the firm’s Whistleblower page at yourlawyer.com or call 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636).

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