The Wakefield study, first published in Lancet in 1998, has been widely criticized, soundly debunked and impossible to replicate. The article released today by BMJ officially moves the study from the realm of shoddy research and rash conclusions into the province of intentional fraud.
The motive? Money. Lots of money. First of all, there was the upfront payment of over a half million US dollars from a group of lawyers who hoped to profit from suing vaccine manufacturers, a fact that was conveniently concealed for over five years. Add to that the money he stood to make from his medical "tests" that would form the basis of the law suits and his percentage of the proceeds from litigation, and you have a more than plausible motive for the crime.
Retracted autism study an 'elaborate fraud,' British journal finds - CNN.com