As I pointed out in BMJ Rapid Responses last year (HERE) Dr Godlee was appointed to her present post shortly after a presentation to British National Formulary ‘The Next MMR – could we do better?’ (HERE) in 2004. Although only the power point slide show survives online the bureaucratic conviction that there was nothing wrong with the children is manifest. She returned to the theme in a Warwick University presentation three year later, emphasising the importance of not allowing parents to have their say in media (HERE).
What Godlee has never recognised is that such deep seated hostility to a hypothesis constitutes bias. She complains about the pharmaceutical companies suppressing data, but she does not address this issue with an open mind. By now huge amounts evidence exist about environmental damage to autistic children, gut pathology, vaccine court awards in significant cases. Whatever the specifics of the Lancet 1998 paper the tide of evidence is that it was properly addressing issues which it never pretended to resolve. Despite all the trumpeting these leftovers from Deer’s February 2009 article, desperately heated up for the third time, make an unattractive meal.
And what happens, particularly in the UK, where the both the doctors and the media are intimidated? Who will listen to parents if their children become ill or regress developmentally after vaccine? There are people who want to make absolutely certain it is nobody, and they are succeeding. This is not a good system, and it elevates the dogma of vaccine infallibility above open science and due medical caution.
John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.