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IPFS News Link • Entertainment: Movies

Film Review: "Protocol 7"

•, By John Leake

IMDB's tagline for Protocol 7 succinctly convey's the film's two major dramatic elements.

With the catastrophic regression of her adopted son, Lexi, a small-town lawyer, is confronted with the reality of corporate fraud at the highest level. Will she hold a massive corporation accountable in this true whistleblower story?

Readers of this Substack are familiar with Andrew Wakefield's seminal documentation of children who developed enterocolitis and autism shortly after receiving MMR vaccines. After publishing his findings in the Lancet, his paper was subsequently retracted and he became the subject of what may be the most vicious vilification and cancellation campaign since Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis was canceled in the early 1860s for proposing that anatomy students wash their hands with chlorinated lime after dissecting cadavers, and before they examined pregnant women in the maternity ward.

Those who would like to learn more about Wakefield's life and work will likely be engrossed by my interview with him last year.

Protocol 7 is a medico-legal thriller based on the true story of two Merck lab scientists who, in 2010, blew the whistle on the company's fraudulent manipulation of lab data to support the company's efficacy claim about the mumps component of its MMR vaccine. The case has been tied up in courts ever since.

Rachel Whittle plays a small-town attorney and mother of an autistic child. British star Matthew Marsden plays a doctor with a history of being a lone voice in the wilderness about MMR vaccines and autism. Another British actor, Harrison Tipping, delivers what struck me as the film's best performance —that of a Merck lab scientist who is a willing participant in the fraud, but also one who is tormented by his recognition that he is debasing his work and talent in the service of an ugly lie. Eric Roberts elegantly plays Dr. Errani, the head of Merck's MMR division, who demands that the lab team figure out a way support the company's efficacy claim by whatever means necessary.