Fraud: Poul Thorsen & Andrew Wakefield

Updated: Nov 11

Chapter 8: Article 1


Let’s turn our attention back to fraud, again. Poul Thorsen is a Danish researcher, and the US Government has charged him with wire fraud and money laundering. It’s believed he stole over $1,000,000 from the CDC between 2004-2010. The money he allegedly stole from the CDC was supposed to be used for specific scientific research.

According to his Most Wanted Fugitive Profile, provided by the US Office of the Inspector General:

CDC awarded the grant to fund studies of the relationship between autism and the exposure to vaccines, the relationship between cerebral palsy and infection during pregnancy, and the relationship between developmental outcomes and fetal alcohol exposure.

Thorsen’s fugitive profile states that in 2011 he was indicted on 22 counts of wire fraud and money laundering. Thorsen is currently living in Denmark. He awaits extradition to the US to face his charges. If convicted, he faces up to 260 years in prison, and 22.5 million dollars in fines.

Though I disagree with much written in a Forbes article which I quote from next, the conclusion of this article states exactly what I and many others believe. The article says:

If the charges are true, Thorsen bilked the US government, specifically the CDC, out of millions and used it to buy himself things. 

... if he is guilty, living and working comfortably and continuing scientific research in Denmark isn't the consequence he deserves. Indeed, I would find it egregious that anyone could just merrily continue engaging in science and finding colleagues who seem happy to work with him after he skirted justice, ripped off the taxpayers of my country, and opened up legitimate scientific work to accusations of fraud by association.

Since Thorsen’s indictment in April 2011, he has been named as co-author on at least 18 new scientific papers listed on PubMed. PubMed is a US Government medical research database. Thorsen recently collaborated on a study, published in 2015. The most shocking thing about this 2015 study, is that it was actually FUNDED by the CDC, the agency that he allegedly stole over a million dollars from. A 2014 study that he co-authored, was funded by another USA Government agency - the NIH. It’s interesting that the US Government lists Thorsen as one of their most wanted fugitive's, and yet USA Federal Agencies continue to employ him. Thorsen is obviously NOT a man in hiding.

So, we have a researcher who has been involved in vaccine/autism studies, and he’s been charged with fraud. I imagine that fact sounds vaguely familiar to you. If so, that's because of  Andrew Wakefield. It's common knowledge today that Wakefield conducted fraudulent vaccine/autism research. His fraudulent paper was published in 1998, and the paper was later retracted because - well - it was fraudulent.

But wait. 

The British Government never charged Andrew Wakefield with fraud. Despite that, the media has made Wakefield’s name synonymous with fraud. If vaccines are making headlines, you can be guaranteed the media will use the opportunity to attack Wakefield and use the situation to again mention his shameful behaviour and his fraudulent actions - fraud that he has never been charged with. So why hasn’t Wakefield been charged with fraud?

Around the world, the various government health authorities and media state that Wakefield's fraudulent actions have endangered the entire global population. Paul Offit, one of the most well respected vaccine proponent's in the USA stated that that Andrew Wakefield should be held responsible for the deaths of children who have died from measles as a result of that fraudulent paper.

Fraud (especially if it causes death) is definitely a crime worthy of a criminal charge and criminal trial, AT MINIMUM. Recognizing that Andrew Wakefield has NEVER been indicted, despite the accusations and global hatred for him, might it be possible that he didn’t actually commit fraud? Impossible! you say, because why would we hear so much about him, if he didn’t actually commit fraud? Well, ponder this. Why on earth do we hear absolutely NOTHING about Poul Thorsen, a fugitive of the USA, a "fugitive" who the American federal agencies continue to employ to conduct their scientific research? Though we never hear anything about Thorsen, his scientific expertise or alleged fraudulent actions, media does like to provide plenty of spotlight on the important and enlightening vaccine/autism research that he contributed to.

The Forbes’ article, by Emily Willingham concludes that Thorsen’s autism research, namely the papers which the health authorities use to declare no connection between vaccines and autism, must be "legitimate" scientific work, free from corruption despite Thorsen’s participation, because Thorsen was merely the fourth co-author of seven. In her opinion, if he was first or senior author, maybe he could have corrupted those studies, but recognizing his position as fourth, she says that's unlikely. And with that said, she concludes her article by expressing her shock and disbelief, that today, he continues to find people that are willing to work with him, in spite of his 2011 indictment. Again to compare, Wakefield was the first and senior investigator on his paper, co-authored by 12 others, and therefore he did have the position and “power” to conduct fraudulent work, if he wanted to. But wait.

In the documentary titled, "The Pathological Optimist," Carmel Wakefield, Andrew's wife, provides a little background. She states:

There’s a sort of hierarchy when you publish a paper in a journal. And you have the most senior doctor tends to be the first author, and the last author is the person who has kind of collated all the work. So those are the two key figures. There were thirteen people on this paper. Professor John Walker-Smith was the lead author, he was the senior clinician. And Andy was the last author because he collated the work. He wasn’t the person investigating the children, ordering investigations, reviewing investigations, or any of the above.

So although Andrew Wakefield was listed first on that paper, it seems his role was to collate the the work of someone more senior. Prof. John Walker-Smith was listed last on the paper, but the paper also notes that he was the senior clinical investigator. Also important to note, Prof. John Walker-Smith was the world’s then leading pediatric gastroenterologis. So if Wakefield really did manage to commit fraud, would he have been able to conceal his fraud so completely from the senior investigator, a seasoned and highly knowledgeable doctor and professor? How did Walker-Smith not catch on to the fraud? Or, did Walker-Smith participate in the fraud too? And why would Walker-Smith, a world renowned and respected professor continue to stand behind that fraudulent paper, even after ten of their fellow co-authors retracted their support when the global scrutiny intensified?

I’ll answer those questions on another day, until then, you can read this BBC article which explains how Walker-Smith was also stripped of his medical license by the British General Medical Council (GMC), at the same time disciplinary hearing for "professional misconduct," with Andrew Wakefield. This article provides coverage about WHY the British High Court later overturned the GMC’s professional misconduct ruling, completely exonerating Walker-Smith and re-instating his medical license (years after his license had been revoked). The High Court concluded that the GMC had "inadequate and superficial reasoning and, in a number of instances, a wrong conclusion." You can read the article Here. It also should be noted that Walker-Smith's million dollar appeal to the High Court was paid for by his medical insurance, whereas Wakefield's medical insurance did not cover an appeal. That's why Wakefield decided to not appeal the GMC decision. When Walker-Smith was exonerated of all wrong-doing, their retracted and "fraudulent" medical paper should have been re-instated, but it wasn't.

Let’s reflect on the conclusions of both "Wakefield's" and Thorsen’s research papers.

"Wakefield’s fraudulent” and retracted paper states the following (emphasis mine):

WE DID NOT PROVE an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described [bowel disease associated with autism]. Virological studies are underway that may help to resolve this issue…

We have identified a chronic enterocolitis [bowel disease] in children that may be related to neuropsychiatric dysfunction [autism]. In most cases, onset of symptoms was after measles, mumps, and rubella immunisation. Further investigations are needed to examine this syndrome [bowel disease associated with autism] and its POSSIBLE relation to this vaccine.

It’s interesting that a medical research paper can be retracted because it merely questioned whether or not there might be a possibility of something. How do you retract questioning a possibility? Were you surprised to read that the medical paper was about a potential new bowel disease found in autistic children, and that the paper wasn't at all saying that the MMR vaccine causes autism?  The media usually reports the conclusion of this paper much much differently.

On the other hand, two of Thorsen’s research contributions (one looking at MMR and the other looking at the vaccine ingredient thimerosal) have been used by leading health officials all around the world to support vaccination regularly. The conclusions of these two papers state:

This study provides strong evidence against the hypothesis that MMR vaccination causes autism.

And

Our ecological data do not support a correlation between thimerosal-containing vaccines and the incidence of autism.

With Wakefield, his non-existent fraud charges have been deemed proven and irrefutable. Why? Because he wanted to pursue an area of research examining a new bowel disease identified in autistic children, and that research was also going to look further at whether or not the MMR vaccine contributed to the bowel disease somehow? Your guess is as good as mine, but whatever the true reason is, HE’S GUILTY, until proven innocent. An indictment, a criminal trial, a conviction, those things are all unnecessary. On the other hand, Thorsen’s actual indictment of fraud is obviously unimportant and can be ignored completely. Why? Because his research states there’s strong evidence that vaccines do not cause autism? Again, guess away. Whatever the true reason is, guilt or innocence has no relevance for him because his legitimate charges have been forgotten or ignored by Government and media. The USA Government actually chooses to continue employing him, allowing him to conduct further research for them, even though they believe he stole more than a million dollars of research funds from USA taxpayers.

The point of this article is not to prove innocence or guilt, that’s a decision that needs to be left to a judge or jury in a court of law. The purpose of this article is simply to point out the usual contradictions and double standards which have become completely "acceptable" and standard in vaccine reporting.

To conclude, I’d like to address an incorrect assumption made by Forbes’ Emily Willingham, about me and other anti-vaxxers. If Poul Thorsen is found guilty of wire fraud and money laundering, then I personally think that ALL of the research Thorsen has participated in, regardless his position in authorship and regardless what the research encompassed, ALL OF IT needs to be very heavily scrutinized.

CONTINUE to the next article here: Ch8: Article 2

Article Sources

  • Lecture by Dr. Suzanne Humphries Here - discussion of Poul Thorsen begins at the 24:15

  • Fugitive Profiles – Office of Inspector General US Department of Health & Human Services (Poul Thorsen Profile is the 17th Profile Down the Page) Here

  • Forbes Article attacking Anti-vaxxer motives related to the Poul Thorsen Issue Here

  • Wakefield’s Retracted Paper Here

  • Two key research papers which Poul Thorsen contributed to since his 2011 indictment:

  • Published Sept 2015 & Funded by CDC Here

  • Published July 2014 & Funded by the NIH Here


  • A List of Thorsen’s Published Research on PubMed, much of which has been published after his April 2011 Indictment Here

  • Poul Thorsen's contribution in autism research Here and Here

  • Paul Offit - A very respected vaccine proponent who states that Wakefield should be held accountable for measles deaths Here

  • Documentary about Andrew Wakefield - The Pathological Optimist Here

  • John Walker-Smith – British High Court Ruling Here

  • Statement by SPIDER about the CDC's Unethical Actions Here

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