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BMJ Editor Refuses to Acknowledge Brian Deer’s Role as Complainant in GMC Case

Ostrich By John Stone

The British Medical Journal stands accused of double standards and misleading its readers in refusing to acknowledge journalist Brian Deer’s role as complainant in the UK General Medical Council hearing against Andrew Wakefield, John Walker-Smith and Simon Murch in two articles by him that it has published on the subject. Deer’s role was defined by a High Court ruling by Mr Justice Eady in 2006 who stated:

“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 [Dr Wakefield] a letter notifying him of the information against him.”

The text of two of these complaints are available on line. Moreover, it is evident that Deer stood to gain professionally from their successful prosecution. And in a letter to Channel 4, dated November 4 2004 from solicitors RadcliffesLeBrasseur, acting for the Medical Protection
Society it was stated:

"It is clear and probably not disputed that Mr Deer is operating on his own agenda in respect of these matters and it is also right to say at this time that he has made a formal statutory complaint to the General Medical Council against Mr Wakefield and others concerning these matters. That statutory inquiry within the auspices of the Medical Act and the GMC’s Fitness to Practice procedures is ongoing."

It should also be noted that Deer’s three complaints are the only ones listed in the screening process leading to the GMC prosecution.

In contrast the first of Deer’s BMJ articles ‘Reflections on investigating Wakefield’ (2 February) has no disclosure at all and the second  ‘Wakefield’s ‘autistic enterocolitis’ under the microscope’ (15 April) simply reads:|

“BD undertook the Sunday Times investigation which led to the GMC hearing and retraction of the Lancet paper.”

A follow up letter published under Deer’s name states abstrusely:

“BD's investigation for The Sunday Times led to the retraction of the Wakefield et al paper, and the GMC proceedings in Wakefield, Walker-Smith and Murch” (HERE)

But no mention of the letters of complaint. Deer’s role as complainant was already discussed extensively last year in a Spectator article by leading UK columnist Melanie Phillips. (HERE)
It was also troubling that in this letter which effectively accused one of the histopathologists signatory to the Wakefield-Lancet paper of perjury at the GMC hearing seemed to display an altogether different level of scientific expertise to Deer’s normal writing, and that Deer may be being used as proxy for persons who will not declare themselves. The different style of disclosure may also indicate a different author.

Meanwhile, after several exchanges of email the BMJ’s editor-in-chief, Fiona Godlee seems to stand in bare-faced denial of reality:

“From the information and documentation provided to the BMJ I am confident that the conflict of interest statement published with the article is an accurate reflection of the true position. You are welcome to pursue this matter by other avenues but I do not propose to answer further queries from you on this. Best wishes, Fiona Godlee”

John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.


Jen Leavesley

I also got a whitewash from Fiona Godlee when i complained - she in fact said she hoped to publish more from Deer in the BMJ as his sort of 'investigative journalism' is the sort of thing they like to publish.

Deer does far more than investigate, he has had a single motive, which has been the destruction of Wakefield, Walker-Smith and Murch, for his own personal gain. He wanted / wants to be Martin Bashir, make his name from the destruction of others.

Deer makes me sick. I am shocked and disgusted at the BMJ for publishing him.

Jim Thompson

(6) Deer writes articles and gains professionally from his central role in the GMC investigation.

Jim Thompson

The following appears obvious, after reading :

(1) Deer makes an allegation of misconduct in the Sunday Times.
(2) Deer submits an allegation of misconduct in the form of a personal complaint to the GMC.
(3) Deer has no legal standing, i.e. no claim of personal harm from the alleged misconduct.
(4) The GMC attorneys, without legal standing (direct personal harm) on Deer’s part, must cook up some other term to justify investigation based on information from Deer.
(5) The GMC begins an investigation based on an allegation by Deer and claims that Deer is an informant rather than a complainant--even though Deer’s letter alleges serious professional misconduct in the form of a personal complaint.
(6) Deer writes articles and gain professionally from his central role in the GMC investigation.
(7) Deer claims his role was not central to the GMC investigation.

Note: there is no timeline necessary to the above alleged events because no particular order of is required to establish the central role of Brian Deer in the GMC investigation and prosecution.

So…either the GMC conducted a manhunt on Brian Deer, tracked him down with bloodhounds, and then tortured him into confessing his knowledge—or he submitted his concerns and evidence in the form of a personal complaint to the GMC voluntarily—or some other scenario.

No matter, Brian Deer is central to the GMC investigation and did more than publish an article in the Sunday Times which led to the investigation.

There is conflict of interest, competing interest, and lack of journalistic integrity on the parts of both Deer and the British Medical Journal.

“That a lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies,
That a lie which is all a lie may be met and fought with outright,
But a lie which is part a truth is a harder matter to fight.”

Alfred Lord Tennyson, “The Grandmother”

Deborah Nash

It seems to me that it has been the agenda all along to get Dr Wakefield struck off the Medical Register, thus punishing dissent and protecting the MMR. To this end the likes of Mr Deer, the BMJ and the GMC have been the 'oily rags' doing the dirty work of the Engineers. It only remains to be seen if they destroy the lives and careers of Prof. Walker-Smith( Emeritus) and Prof. Murch too. Will they be collateral damage, "guilty'' , by association.? All three doctors guilty of listening to parents and wanting to help physically and mentally ill patients.
The people that have organised this witch hunt have shown a callous disregard for the suffering of vaccine damaged children and their families.

John Stone

The unimpressive response of BMJ to this article seems to be to post a comment from journalist Brian Morgan, probably held over for two months, insinuating that I have somehow mis-quoted Judge Eady without actually explaining how. He also seeks to suggest that Deer's naming of litigant patients somehow follows from Eady's ruling - although Deer had posted names on the web two years before Eady's ruling:

Needless to say, BMJ have not posted my response which reflects no credit on them, most particularly because I was the subject of the letter:-

"Re: Original Sources Best"

I am grateful to Brian Morgan, but I am not sure why he would not wish readers to look at the Melanie Phillips' excellent article [1,2], and he has not explained how reading Mr Justice Eady's rulings in their
entirety would modify the sense of the quoted passage.

Nor, I suspect, in view of the restrictions, would it give Brian Deer
dispensation to reference material made available as a result of those
rulings as above [3], if that is what he was doing (he has not said).

It is still possible to download from the web archive pages originally from Mr Deer's site which named litigant patients from November 2004 and February 2006, prior to Mr Justice Eady's rulings, and another
from March 2007 (links supplied).

[1] John Stone, 'Trisha Greenhalgh: competing interests', BMJ Rapid
Responses 24 February 2010,

[2] Melanie Phillips, 'A deer in the headlights', The Spectator 16
February 2009,

[3] Brian Deer, 'Dr Yazbak's claims', BMJ Rapid Responses, 8 March

Competing interests:
Autistic son

Jenny Allan

I think the New Scientist and the GMC are both 'in denial' about the differences between 'real' reported scientific discoveries and investigations, and any
other paper or article merely 'claiming' to be science.

Let me remind them and anyone else interested in this subject.

First of all, there has to be something to investigate, usually as a result of observation or plain interest or curiosity. I will give you some examples. Archimedes noticed displacement of water in his bath and shouted 'eureka'. Sir Issac Newton noticed an apple falling from a tree and wondered why it fell instead of floating off into space. Sir Alexander Fleming noticed some mould in a petri dish containing a culture of bacteria. He noticed a ring of dead bacteria around the mould.

These three great scientists then devised experiments to 'prove' their hypotheses about water displacement, gravitational attraction and the antibiotic properties of penicillin. It was not enough to claim observation alone as 'proof' of findings.

Wakefield et al, in their original 1998 Lancet article wrote about their clinical and histopathology observations regarding a small group of children with autism and bowel problems. This article made it clear that these were clinical observations only and that more research was needed. Their results have since been replicated within other clinical research worldwide.

I do not know what 'research' the New Scientist has carried out to allege that the thousands of people who remain convinced that themselves or their children suffered autism as a result of vaccine damage are all suffering from 'denial', but my poor grandson is only too well aware that his very real and properly diagnosed bowel problems and autism are NOT figments of someone else's imagination!!


Thank you, John. It's hard not to notice that all these regal medical and scientific authorities are associating with the likes of Deer, who comes off as rough trade and behaves in kind. Who else would they have found to perform such a filthy mission? And now they're having to cover up for the thug and are barely bothering to bring out the mops and antiseptics.

The New Scientist series on "denialism" should have been entitled "The Age of Cheese" instead of the "Age of Denial" for having to recycle Michael Specter's hokey "denialism" conception, which never quite works and requires strange gymnastics to even nominally entertain. And they've also been saddled with this clumsy industry-concocted half-inversion of "sceptic/skeptic". Having to fit that in there is like watching a bad modern art demo. Yes, a disintegrating toilet plunger could be worn as a hat. But should it? And what does it mean?

Clearly from the graphics on the cover and the title they're having fits of blog envy. In author Michael Skermer's attempt to categorize the different versions of this so-called "denialism", if he had exchanged the words, "autism epidemic" for "global warming", he would have been cooking with gas instead of passing it. Below is an excerpt from Skermer's list with some helpful ammendments:

True disbelievers
Climate (epidemic) denial

In a nutshell: Global warming (read: autism epidemic) either (1) isn't real (2) isn't caused by humans or (3) doesn't matter
Origin: Corporate astroturfing in the early 1990s
Call themselves: Climate sceptics (read: call themselves NY and Baltimore Examiner Skeptics)
Influence: *****

Jim Thompson

The failure to recognize this article as Film Noir fantasy material and then to publish it under the guise of public service information demonstrates the lack of qualifications and integrity of the British Medical Journal editorial staff.

Parents and children suffering from the devastating and tragic impacts of MMR vaccine injuries deserve far more.

John Stone


Quite right Deer, does Film Noir:

"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?"

"But I didn’t fancy that one at all."

And all courtesy of British Medical Journal!

Jim Thompson

Robin, The New Scientist appears to be all about “attack the messenger” and rambles aimlessly.

Sort of like Brian Deer, who sounds like Guy Noir from Prairie Home Companion.

See .


Goodness – we all know who the complainant is – even though he has denied it on occasion. He boasted about it for long enough. I speak of course of Brian Deer.
If the BMJ, for whatever reason is unwilling to recognise Brian Deer as complainant, I would love to know - why? If BMJ believe some other agency was the complainant, I would love to know – who? And why does Fiona Godlee refuse further communication? What is the BMJ frightened of? Committing itself? Why? And what is Brian Deer frightened of? And why?


How the BMJ cannot accept that Brian Deer is not responsible for this GMC fiasco is beyond me , he has clearly asked the gmc for permission to lay before them his so called evidence which is clearly stated in in the excellent film on youtube Selective Hearing , i would urge anyone who has not seen it to view immediately


Robin since I am probably 40 points below them, I did not understand - their language was too hard for me to understand. The way the elite stated it and all. So, I came away wondering if I was a denier???

Or were they perhaps saying I was one of the enlighten?

Been up for a week now with my bipolar daughter - I really don't have time/energy to decipher their meaning.


The juxtaposition of this story with the story of the mother accused of killing her 11 year old son is too much to bear.

John Stone


Couldn't download all of the New Scientist article but what utter ideologically driven drivel - just quack-busting rhetoric (link weak cases with strong cases indiscriminately as an industry lobbying exercise). Why would all vaccines be safe as a scientific given? Why would a cow-pox vaccine prevent small-pox, and who is queuing up for early 19th century needle hygeine?



Jim Thompson

Brian Deer, in “Reflections on investigating Wakefield,” BMJ, February 6,2010, p.295, says “As the journalist whose investigations led to the charges and the retraction, I sometimes wondered whether we would ever see a result from the GMC…The five member panel sat for 197 days.
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?’.”

But Brian Deer does not say in this British Medical Journal publication that he filed the charges and then reported on the charges.

Clearly this is non-disclosure of a competing interest. Brian apparently responds to his boss and files a complaint and then spends years publishing his writings on the subject.

Rather than simply report the news, Brian Deer and the Sunday Times create it.

What the British Medical Journal does not say is that Brian Deer filed the charges and then reported on the charges. The British Medical Journal editor Fiona Godlee should be sent packing.

patricia pratt

It is patently obvious even to a lay person such as myself that the GMC case against Andrew Wakefield was a politically driven complaint, aided and assisted by a STimes Journalist,who was always in it for purely professional gain. There is now a massive amount of evidence to support this theory.

But what really amazes and shocks me is that there are many in the Medical profession who appear to have no particular problem with such a revelation. To them it seems the motives for bringing the case are immaterial and thus the legal or moral issues it raises are simply being ignored.

Except by certain individuals such as your good self John. It remains for Wakefield and his colleagues to fight their corners for themselves and for the children in a higher Court of Justice.

Robin Rowlands

'The Dark Ages' of 'The New Scientist' who dare not even mention my name ...

Robin Rowlands
Guildford Surrey

Robin Rowlands

Have you clocked the latest edition of the New Scientist - Cover Story 'Age of Denial'

Robin Rowlands
Guildford Surrey

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