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Fraud: Poul Thorsen & Andrew Wakefield

Updated: Apr 9, 2022

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 think about the situation. 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 24 new scientific papers listed on PubMed. PubMed is a US Government medical research database. Studies published before 2017 were published under the name Poul Thorsen, and from 2017 forward have been published under the name Poul Bak Thorsen or Poul B Thorsen.

What’s exceptionally interesting about the additional research he’s conducted since his 2011 indictment, is that 6 of the studies were actually funded by the CDC, the agency that Thorsen allegedly stole over a million dollars from. You can see the CDC's contribution to the studies near the end of each paper, under the various headings titled Acknowledgements or Footnotes or Funding Statement or The following investigators participated in this study. The studies are as follows:

2012: Cytokines and posthemorrhagic ventricular dilation in premature infants Here

2012: Cytokine profiles of preterm neonates with fungal and bacterial sepsis Here

2013: Association between blood spot transforming growth factor-β and patent ductus arteriosus in extremely low-birth weight infants Here

2013: C-reactive protein and preterm delivery: clues from placental findings and maternal weight Here

2014: Cytokines associated with necrotizing enterocolitis in extremely-low-birth-weight infants Here

2015: Low to Moderate Average Alcohol Consumption and Binge Drinking in Early Pregnancy: Effects on Choice Reaction Time and Information Processing Time in Five-Year-Old Children Here

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 might sound vaguely familiar to you. If not, I’ll bring you up to speed.

Dr. Andrew Wakefield was a British medical doctor, who published a paper in 1998 about the discovery of a new bowel disease that seemed to have a connection with autism. In the paper which was a case study describing 12 autistic patients who have this new bowel disease, Dr. Wakefield explained that several of the parents expressed that the bowel disease began after MMR vaccination. That 1998 paper generated concern that the MMR vaccine might be causing the bowel disease and autism. After publication of the paper, several medical and governmental discussions ensued.

As years passed, with parental concerns heighted stemming from this paper, some parents chose to decline accepting the combination MMR vaccine, asking instead to vaccinate their children with single dose vaccines. This set the UK government into a panic. With the pressure mounting, several fellow co-authors retracted their support of the paper.

In 2010, twelve years after the publication of the 1998 study, The Lancet, the medical journal which published the paper, retracted it saying elements of the manuscript proved to be false. Three months after the paper was retracted, the UK General Medical Council completed a disciplinary hearing for Dr. Wakefield (and two of his 13 co-authors). As a result of the disciplinary hearing, two of the co-authors, Wakefield included, lost their medical licenses. Since then, the 1998 paper, and Wakefield himself have been regularly called a fraud.

So how does this connect to Poul Thorsen, described at the beginning of this article. Poul Thorsen has been indicted on fraud charges, and he had been involved in vaccine/autism research. Similarly, Andrew Wakefield conducted fraudulent vaccine/autism research and he lost his medical license and his paper was retracted , because of his fraudulent actions.

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 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 onto the important and enlightening vaccine/autism research that he contributed to.

The Forbes’ piece by Emily Willingham, mentioned at the beginning of this article, 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 the first or senior author, maybe he could have corrupted those studies, but recognizing his "lowly" 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 listed as the first and Senior Scientific 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 titledThe 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 investigate and collate the work of someone more senior. Prof. John Walker-Smith was listed last on the paper and as the Senior Clinical Investigator. Also important to note, Prof. John Walker-Smith was then, the world’s leading pediatric gastroenterologist. 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 (civil law proceedings - in contrast the GMC is not a legal proceeding) 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." 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 the cost of an appeal. 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] and its possible relation to this vaccine.

It’s interesting that co-authors of a medical research paper would retract their support of it, when the conclusion of the paper is simply saying they’d like to see if a possible relationship exists. Why would you retract saying that? 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 concluding 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.


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 with no chance of being proven innocent! An indictment, a criminal trial, a conviction, all of those things are 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 the 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.

And with that, it's time to circle back to what I questioned long ago in Ch 2: Article 3 about the government's actions. I asked, are the “goals” – vaccine use to the maximum extent and vaccine safety – held with equal priority? Or is one given more weight, focus and effort than the other? Early in this book I said it’s important to watch for government patterns of action, so let’s reflect on that here.

Thorsen’s research which denies a vaccine/autism connection did not have a negative affect on vaccine maximum use. Thorsen is treated well by the US governmet, receiving work and compensation, despite being charged with criminal offences and being named on the US most wanted fugitive list. His research has never been questioned, challenged or retracted.

Wakefield on the other hand, questioned a vaccine/autism connection and his research did have a negative affect on vaccine maximum use. Though Wakefield has never been charged with any crime, he is spoken about as though he’s a convicted criminal, he can no longer work as a doctor and his medical career was destroyed. His research has been questioned, challenged, called fradulent, and retracted.

Additionally, the bowel disease he identified in the 1998 paper (and today studies have confirmed that autistic children do have bowel problems, which may be associated with an overactive immune system), has never been tested or studied by the government.

I think such action demonstrates unequivocally that “vaccine maximum use” is a higher priority goal, over “vaccine safety” as far as the government is concerned. I also think such action demonstrates that the government is willing to act powerfully, to ensure that threats to vaccine maximum use are eliminated.

To conclude, I’d like to address an incorrect assumption made by Forbes’ Emily Willingham, about me and other “vaccine-autism conspiracy adherents” (her derrogatory label for us). 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 of his position in authorship and regardless what his research encompassed, all of it, not just the autism research, 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

  • Most Wanted Fugitive Profiles – Office of Inspector General US Department of Health & Human Services (Poul Thorsen Profile is the 6th Photo Down the Page) Here

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

  • 10 Co-authors of the 1998 paper retract their support of it Here

  • The Lancet retracts the 1998 paper Here

  • The UK General Medical Council revokes Wakefield's medical license Here

  • Wakefield’s Retracted Paper Here

  • Anderson Cooper talks about Wakefield's fraudulent paper Here

  • Research Poul Thorsen has contributed to Here He has produced at least 24 new papers since his indictment in 2011 (This search was completed in April 2022) You have to click on the paper to confirm P Thorsen or PB Thorsen shows Poul Thorsen or Poul Bak Thorsen as author.

  • Poul Thorsen's research post indictment where the CDC provided the funding

    • 2012: Cytokines and posthemorrhagic ventricular dilation in premature infants Here

    • 2012: Cytokine profiles of preterm neonates with fungal and bacterial sepsis Here

    • 2013: Association between blood spot transforming growth factor-β and patent ductus arteriosus in extremely low-birth weight infants Here

    • 2013: C-reactive protein and preterm delivery: clues from placental findings and maternal weight Here

    • 2014: Cytokines associated with necrotizing enterocolitis in extremely-low-birth-weight infants Here

    • 2015: Low to Moderate Average Alcohol Consumption and Binge Drinking in Early Pregnancy: Effects on Choice Reaction Time and Information Processing Time in Five-Year-Old Children 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

  • Autistic children and bowel problems Here

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