Cover-Up psychiatrist Absconds With $2M
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Professor, Pace University
Posted: March 11, 2010 11:25 AM
A central figure behind the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) claims disputing the link between vaccines and autism and other neurological disorders has disappeared after officials discovered massive fraud involving the theft of millions in taxpayer dollars. Danish police are investigating Dr. Poul Thorsen, who has vanished along with almost $2 million that he had supposedly spent on research.
Thorsen was a leading member of a Danish research group that wrote several key studies supporting CDC's claims that the MMR vaccine and mercury-laden vaccines were safe for children. Thorsen's 2003 Danish study reported a 20-fold increase in autism in Denmark after that country banned mercury based preservatives in its vaccines. His study concluded that mercury could therefore not be the culprit behind the autism epidemic.
His study has long been criticized as fraudulent since it failed to disclose that the increase was an artifact of new mandates requiring, for the first time, that autism cases be reported on the national registry.
The discovery of Thorsen's fraud came as the result of an investigation by Aarhus University and CDC which discovered that Thorsen had falsified documents and, in violation of university rules, was accepting salaries from both the Danish university and Emory University in Atlanta -- near CDC headquarters -- where he led research efforts to defend the role of vaccines in causing autism and other brain disorders. Thorsen's center has received $14.6 million from CDC since 2002.
Thorsen, who was a psychiatrist and not a research scientist or toxicologist, parlayed that study into a long-term relationship with CDC. He built a research empire called the North Atlantic Epidemiology Alliances (NANEA) that advertised its close association with the CDC autism team, a relationship that had the agency paying Thorsen and his research staff millions of dollars to churn out research papers, many of them assuring the public on the issue of vaccine safety.