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Brian Deer Hired to "Find Something Big" on MMR

Note_paper-764422 Brian Deer was hired by the Sunday Times to find “something big” on MMR and started his investigation “with an empty notebook”.

By John Stone

Brian Deer revealed in an article last month in British Medical Journal that he was hired by a Sunday Times section editor in September 2003 who told him he needed “something big” on MMR (HERE ). The investigation, according to Deer, was not commenced on information but “with an empty notebook”.  We are not told by Deer why the editor needed the story, and it is disturbing that the investigation apparently began as a fishing expedition. So far, BMJ have failed to respond to concerns.

Deer wrote:

“For me the story started with a lunch. So many do. "I need something big," said a Sunday Times section editor. "About what?" I replied. Him: "MMR?"”
and goes on:

“So I took an empty notebook and made my own inquiries. It was the largest Sunday Times medical investigation since thalidomide.”

Deer does not at this point mention Andrew Wakefield but it seems likely that the editor wanted something “big” on the main critics of MMR rather than the product. It has been widely reported that the section editor was Paul Nuki, and the son of Prof George Nuki, who sat on the Committee on Safety in Medicines when it passed Pluserix MMR vaccine as safe for use in 1987 (which was later withdrawn 1992 after adverse side effects ): Pluserix was manufactured by SmithKlineFrench Laboratories, which was later incorporated into GlaxoSmithKline.  In 2007 Paul Nuki left the Sunday Times to manage a UK National Heath Service website (‘NHS Choices’ ).

While it has not been explained why the editor should have needed a “big” story on MMR the UK House of Commons Health Committee stated in its report ‘The Influence of the Pharmaceutical Industry’ in 2005 p.60:

‘The use of PR to counter negative publicity’

‘221. ………. Considerable resources are invested into building long-term, sustainable relationships with stakeholders and ‘key opinion leaders‘ and journalists. These relationships are used to promote the use of certain brands and counter concerns relating to safety. Efforts to undermine critical voices in particular were identified, under terms of “issues management”. In later evidence, in response to the ISM’s memorandum, Pfizer stated that PR is entirely legitimate and can “help to educate and inform”. According to the PMCPA, PR activities may include “placing articles in the lay press, TV documentaries, soap operas etc“.’

Later on in February 2009 Sunday Times proprietor James Murdoch was appointed to the board of MMR manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline with a brief to “help to review "external issues that might have the potential for serious impact upon the group's business and reputation"” (Guardian UK) . Coincidentally, or not, this was swiftly followed by new attacks on Andrew Wakefield’s reputation by Deer and other Times Newspaper journalists (HERE), (HERE), (HERE) & (HERE).

Deer also failed to disclose in the BMJ article that he was privately the author of at least three complaints to the GMC , as disclosed by Mr Justice Eady in the High Court.

BMJ have yet to publish my letter expressing concerns about some of these conflicts:-

"Grave concerns - are we are being led?"
I note a new feature of this story recorded here [1] which should
arouse disquiet. Brian Deer tells us that a Sunday Times editor approached
him to find a story, rather than investigate one which already existed.
"For me the story started with a lunch. So many do. "I need something
big," said a Sunday Times section editor. "About what?" I replied.
and Deer goes on to confirm:
"So, I took my empty notebook and made my own enquiries"
But crucially we are not told why this editor needed "something big".
I believe it is also of concern given what followed that Deer was
named by Mr Justice Eady as a complainant to the GMC about Wakefield [2]:
"Well before the programme was broadcast [Mr Deer] had made a
complaint to the GMC about the Claimant. His communications were made on
25 February, 12 March and 1 July 2004. In due course, on 27 August of the
same year, the GMC sent the Claimant a letter notifying him of the
information against him."
Indeed, we still do not know of any other complainant in the case,
and Deer does not explain this part of his role in the affair here. I
think we are entitled to know this as background to the present somewhat
wistful reminiscences, but even more importantly why did the editor need
something "big" on MMR (or, by implication, on its critics), and what
exactly hung on it? Otherwise we are surely simply being led.
[1] Brian Deer,'Reflections on Investigating Wakefield' Published 2
February 2010, doi:10.1136/bmj.c672
[2] Melanie Phillips, 'A deer in the headlights', The Spectator 16
February 2009,
Competing interests:
Autistic Son


Jenny Allan

From the the text of the MedicoLegal Investigations newsletter (above)

'Brian Deer's investigation reinforces our view, yet again, that in medical research there is far too much pressure to publish. The damage done to the integrity of research is such that it places doubt in the minds of the public about all research'.

Am I missing something here? The situation with the Lancet babies and my own grandson was that they were being TREATED at the Royal Free Hospital by those two eminent excellent clinicians, Profs Murch and Walker Smith. This treatment was THERAPEUTIC and was most definitely NOT research. I can't comment about the other infants, (although their parents and relatives are all saying exactly the same things), but this treatment was an ESSENTIAL part of my grandson's clinical care and everyone in my family is most grateful for it.

Dr Wakefield's original Lancet paper was NOT a research paper and did not pretend to be one. It was merely an account of the clinical findings in these cases. To claim that this was bringing medical research into disrepute is ridiculous. However, regardless of how uncomfortable the medical and pharmaceutical fraternities feel about Dr Wakefield's observations and his more recent research involving primates, we members of the public have a fundamental right to be told about this.

John Stone


I wonder, will the UK medical profession take it lying down? It is after all, quite a tall order - and the situation different from the US in the 1980s when the mandated vaccine schedule was quite modest. Now we are in a position where we know the schedule can be indefinitely extended and products can change etc...

Of course, we had a bit of a showdown last summer in the UK, when there hints of compulory vaccination from the Welsh assembly and a former chaiman on the British Medical Association (but the presnt head was against). The in it came up on the big TV debating slot (Question Time) and 5 panellists declared MMR completely safe, but didn't thing it ought to be compulsory - and I am sure story is that being educated people they didn't want their grandchildren to have it. But that seemed to kill it for the time being.

Also, looking at the blogs there was considerably popular disquiet at the GMC decision, though no one knew anything about the details - but disturbing the government are trying to force the issue again. Still, I take your bleak view very seriosly.


Craig Willoughby

It's really too bad we can't investigate Deer's bank accounts. I wonder how much of a payoff they gave him, if they gave him one.

Just a thought.

Craig Willoughby

"The best place for Brian Deer to do his reminiscing is behind bars. He might even look for his soul, if he has one."

GSK bought it for an unspecified amount.


The GMC is about to compel British doctors to be vaccinated through the new revalidation system.

Presumably this is a prelude to universal compulsion.

Tim Kasemodel

Peter, I wish this were a joke, but it's not. It is also worth noting that, as yet, you have chosen not to respond to any comments targeting your inconsiderate remarks.

I remember the empty notebook I started with. Beautiful, shimmering, and untouched by none but my wife and I. Then ten minutes after my son was born someone started to write their own damn notes in it by giving my son a HepB shot with 12.5 mg/hg - WITHOUT OUR PERMISSION.

Two weeks later when we took him (as good parents) to his "two week check-up" they added another note when they gave him another HepB shot with 12.5 mg/hg WITHOUT OUR PERMMISSION because the nurses on his day of birth, under the direct DISTRAUGHT admonishement of my wife, did not record the shot.

When we finally got control of the notebook, we were recording toxin levels, severity of bowel issues, then bio-med interventions, new verbalizations he never had before age 8, you get the picture???

We finally decided that our son needed real help and went to Thoughtful House for help. His 10 year battle with GI issues that started BEFORE he developed autism were not being addressed in Minnesota.

We found the very same issues in our son that Dr. Andrew Wakefield reported on in his case series study. He is being treated and his health is getting better everyday.

Ten damn years have gone by wasted since attention was brought to the issue of GI problems in ASD kids. No real concern for these kids, the only concern is for the blind faith in vaccines.

And you sit there smugly and point out that all reporters start with a blank piece of paper, ignoring the fact that Brian Deer was told exactly what to put on the damn thing.

Sleep well in your ignorance.

Kathy Blanco

Many Doctors Push Flu Vaccine, Don't Get it Themselves

How bout that one....I wonder why? How about the rate of jabbing their kids with MMR, I would bet it's just as conflicting for them too...after all, don't they visit or treat the after hours screaming encephalitis child after they vaccinated them in their offices....???

Angus Files


Angus Files

And quote

"Brian Deer's fine piece of investigative journalism was under way. We were asked to advise on matters that were clearly quite alarming.
It is rewarding to know that our knowledge and understanding of research problems is recognised. Brian Deer's investigation reinforces our view, yet again, that in medical research there is far too much pressure to publish. "

Angus Files

Or Brian Deers Dead Brain Cell or Brian Deers Defunct Brain Cell or make it up as he has !!ha ha ha ha ha ha ah GASP!h ah ah ahha Bigger Gasp HA! HAA! HA ! HAA!! HUGE GASP ! HA HA HA HA HA AH OH SIDE SPLIT!!!

John Stone

This the text of the MedicoLegal Investigations newsletter March 2004, Issue 10:

"The extraordinary tale of the problems found in the paper by Dr Andrew Wakefield (as published in the Lancet) concerning MMR and autism were shared with MLI in strict confidence whilst Brian Deer's fine piece of investigative journalism was under way. We were asked to advise on matters that were clearly quite alarming.

"It is rewarding to know that our knowledge and understanding of research problems is recognised. Brian Deer's investigation reinforces our view, yet again, that in medical research there is far too much pressure to publish. The damage done to the integrity of research is such that it places doubt in the minds of the public about all research. Tragically, as in this case, the information provided by Dr Wakefield not only throws doubt on the work of his colleagues within the medical profession it affects the decision-making process for parents who became totally confused about the rights and wrongs of MMR."

Lots of useful information about who they are and their links with the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry from their website:

Angus Files

Sorry meant to read Deer Brian Deers Brain Cell

Angus Files

eh!! forgot to say ..heres the site /state behind Deer Brians Brain Cell (puke!)

The only UK company specialising in research fraud/misconduct investigations now supported by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.
We now offer our services outside the pharmaceutical industry and are presently involved with teaching interview technique to HR professionals as well as operating a debugging service utilising the latest, sensitive equipment. Whatever your problem contact us first for reliability, credibility, integrity and proven ability.
NEW! Debugging service utilising lastest technology. Our proven integrity and reliability should make us your first point of call.


This whole story is really looking like it could be a movie. Someone needs to write the screenplay and move this to a reality

michael framson

The best place for Brian Deer to do his reminiscing is behind bars. He might even look for his soul, if he has one.


Yes, Peter. It's all a joke. Very funny. Dead kids, maimed kids, industry corruption. Laugh riot. It's all about blank paper. Just hone in on that and ignore the gist.

John, thank you for this. I notice that Deer is careful not to name names in his descriptions. He needs to be put under oath in a lawsuit.


"Peter," I suggest you search the Age of Autism archives for other articles on the machinations of Brian Deer. What he does is character assassination, not journalism.

There's a fine line separating newsworthy stories from sensationalism, but there's a wide wall separating fact from fiction. Deer's job was to erase those distinctions, conceal his conflicts of interest, and manufacture controversy.

Any success he's had is due to the mainstream media's conversion over the past decade into a network of gobble-headed parrots incapable of doing original research.


Someone who writes words for a living thinks very carefully about the words he uses. I think Deer's choice of words are so very interesting. There is oh so much pressure on pharmaceutical companies right now, especially for Glaxo with the whole Avandia thing going on. They'll need to continue to deny trying to cover up adverse reactions to all their various medicines, including vaccines. When the shit hits the fan they are definately going to need to point a finger at someone, a "patsy," if you will. I wonder who it will be?

Deer's words, to me, come across contrived. They seem designed to quietly convey his first foray into setting up a defense of his actions in case . . . well, I'm sure he hates to think about that. And yet . . .

He could be reminiscing about what he considers the pinnacle of his career, or he could be making a direct comment to someone specific, implying something along the nature of "I'm not going down for this alone if. . ." It makes me wonder what's been going on in Brian's life lately? Does it seem a bit lonely, perhaps? Maybe his high level contacts have been distancing themselves from Brian. His sweating fingers clench around his prepaid cell phone as he tries to ignore that it isn't ringing much. Or maybe his phone calls aren't being returned quite as promptly. Could be just his imagination . . . or maybe he finds himself looking around to find that the people he was walking with turned the corner while he kept going straight. Maybe he wonders who a good attorney might be. Maybe his attorney told him to write a blog with a subliminal message to it . . .
True? I don't know. But I sure like to imagine it.

Maurine Meleck

Peter, It's only a joke if 1 in 60 children in Britain has autism is also a joke.
Thanks John, you do a better job than Scotland Yard. Maurine

John Stone


This is a useful reference:



It feels, John, as though it would be good to post here ALL the details about the conflicts of interest involved in this sordid story, not just the few that you mentioned. The public needs to understand the total collusion behind this story, to be able to put it in that detailed context. The role as well of Horton's boss at the Lancet, the background of the CMO and the Immunization honcho in regards to vaccines; etc etc etc. Only then will the full truth be served.


Peter, are you joking?

One thing to find an existing story (there never was one), the other to fabricate one out of thin air to fit your agenda.


Peter - it's no joke if you are the victim of contrived targeting.

So well done John! This is a great article thank you.

John Stone


It is about having an "agenda" isn't it?

patricia pratt

And having been given the brief to "find me something big on MMR" this self styled "award winning" journalist went scurrying off to do just that. He couldn´t fail, he mustn´t fail, after all his livelihood and his dubious reputation both depended on it.
Thankyou John for picking up on those fateful little words "find me something big". Shades of Mickey Spillane or something much more worrying?. I know what I believe.

Angus Files

Superb John pulling some of the lies together(far to many to list).Deer Liar Hired. I hope if Dr Wakefield appeals in the High Court that all the lies that have been overlooked by the GMC (GSK) from Deer are held up exposing the conflicts of interests ,collusions, between the government ,and whoever set Deer up with the streamlined persecution of the Uk`s best gastro doctor just doing his job far to well so it seems FOR Pharma...

Theresa Cedillo

Thanks for the great article John. Deer needs to be investigated.


Is this article a joke? Where does one even find a store that sells notebooks that are already filled or newspapers that aren't looking for big stories? No, seriously. Is this article a joke?

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