Update: The Times this morning are putting pressure on Amazon and Apple Itunes to withdraw VaXxed - but The Times is mightily conflicted: they have told falsehood after falsehood. It is to be hoped that they will be ignored but if anyone has not yet seen the film do not delay in downloading it, just in case.
I did not suspect when I posted my article about the London premiere of VaXxed yesterday morning that a hate report was also appearing on the front page of the London Times “Disgraced fraud doctor back in the UK” but let us be clear to start of there have never been any fraud findings against Wakefield. Why should Wakefield, who has not committed fraud, has never committed any crime, not set foot as a British citizen in his own country? So, why is this a news story for the front page of a once serious newspaper?
When the High Court reviewed the General Medical Council (GMC) case against the senior author of the Wakefield Lancet paper, Prof John Walker-Smith (Wakefield having been denied funding to appeal) he was completely exonerated. If any of the central charges against Walker-Smith had been upheld he could not have been cleared. If the paper – as alleged by Times newspapers – had been based on a protocol submitted by Wakefield to the Legal Aid Board Walker-Smith could not have been exonerated, if there had been misreporting, if there had been unauthorised or unethical procedures, Walker-Smith could not have been exonerated. The Times got it wrong and the GMC got it wrong (and between them they had arranged to hide the fact that the principle reporter, Brian Deer, was the only author of complaints against Wakefield ).
The Times does not have a very credible expert, Dr David Robert Grimes, a physicist associated with the lobby agency Sense About Science . Grimes, the mouth, says “We should never forget that he (Wakefield) falsified data and engaged in unethical conduct and that this lie killed and maimed innocent people”. Well, it is interesting that Grimes has no expertise which would make him professionally accountable for his statements. As it happens approximately 10 million people have died in the UK since the publication of the controversial paper and only three of them from measles (in one case involving extreme medical negligence and all three involving otherwise very sick people ).
That Wakefield had not falsified data was shown once again in 2011 when the British Medical Journal alleged fraud based on re-cycling of material by Brian Deer first seen in the Sunday Times in 2009, just after the Times’s proprietor James Murdoch had been made a director of GSK with a brief to protect the group’s reputation. The BMJ case crumbled: Deer had been working from and misinterpreting data Wakefield and the authors of the paper did not have. Print outs of the lost pathology slides came to light (produced by whistleblowing scientist Dr David Lewis) which supported the paper’s findings. Deer and the BMJ editor Fiona Godlee were forced to eat humble pie in a Nature news report. BMJ were embarrassed by their undisclosed commercial conflicts as partners of the manufacturers, and it turned out that their “external peer reviewer” was Harvey Marcovitch, an associate editor who had signed the editorial denouncing Wakefield and was also head of GMC panels.