Irish parents are sending children to a clinic in Bulgaria for dangerous treatments that “cure” autism.
The clinic which operates out of a hospital in the capital Sofia and runs this weekend, is advertised on social media as promoting the use of bleach enemas and unregulated blood products on children.
Discredited medic Andrew Wakefield, who links the MMR vaccine to autism, said Irish parents are among those who bring their children to the clinic.
Speaking at a conference in the US, he described an Irish couple who brought their children for the untested medical treatments in Sofia. The former medic, whose licence was revoked, told how an Irish couple had “spent their life savings” travelling to Bulgaria for the treatments which include ingesting unregulated blood products and a form of electro shock therapy.
“They couldn’t get care in the UK or Ireland because in those countries now, bowel disease in children with autism is synonymous with vaccine injury and doctors are too frightened to care for their patients as they should so they go to Bulgaria,” he said.
The clinic is advertised on Facebook pages which are used frequently by Irish parents advocating the use of bleach enemas on children with autism.
Autism rights group, Autistic Rights Together, criticised the lack of legislation governing the dangerous treatments and the government’s failure to prosecute those advocating their use.
A spokesperson said: “We are extremely concerned and disappointed by the lack of effective action on this issue by the relevant government bodies.
“The individuals who are promoting and selling these unproven, unregulated, and dangerous products are not being prosecuted,
“Legislation is urgently needed to bring these treatments and products under control, and enable the prosecution of anyone operating outside such legislation,” the spokesperson said.
Prof Michael Fitzgerald — the first professor of child and adolescent psychiatry in Ireland — warned of the dangers of using untested treatments on children with autism.
“Parents need to be vigilant and to ask themselves has this treatment been scientifically tested? Has it been compared to existing standard treatments?” he asked.
“These people who back the anti-vaccination movement are turning the clock back and have led to the deaths of Irish children. Links between the MMR vaccine and autism have been studied exhaustively and have been continuously disproved.”
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