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Godlee Must Go: BMJ Fails To Answer Question on Deer's Competing Interests

Godlee Godlee must go: British Medical Journal fails to answer on Brian Deer’s competing interests.

By John Stone

Despite apparently incontrovertible evidence that Sunday Times  journalist Brian Deer was the complainant-in-fact against the three doctors accused of malpractice at GMC  - Prof John Walker-Smith, Dr  Andrew Wakefield and Prof  Simon Murch – the British Medical Journal have failed to take any action to confirm this fact, and continues to mislead its readers after my Age of Autism article last week (HERE) . Not only are they aware of Mr Justice Eady’s High Court finding that Deer had made three complaints in 2004 on which the GMC acted, these were the only complaints listed in the GMC screening file against the doctors, and I was also able to forward two of the letters to BMJ editor-in-chief, Fiona Godlee, as they had appeared on-line. Mr Justice Eady stated in his High Court finding relating to a libel case against Deer:

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 fact that GMC, and its solicitors chose not to name Deer as complainant has left public understanding of his role in this affair incomplete, as he continues to report and comment on it. This is particularly sensitive in the case of peer review medical journal like BMJ which supposedly adheres to current rules in which full disclosure is deemed essential – the relevant passage being section 5 of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors ‘Uniform Disclosure Form for Potential Conflicts of Interest’ (7 August 2008) (HERE):

"Do you have any relevant non financial associations or interests (personal, professional, political, institutional, religious, or other) that a reasonable reader would want to know about in relation to the submitted work?..”.

It is evident that as the reporting journalist Deer stood to gain professionally from the successful prosecution of the case against the three doctors that he first reported on in the Sunday Times in February 2004.

BMJ’s single  concession to my Age of Autism article seems to have been the publication of a letter by journalist Brian Morgan (who claims to have no interest in the matter) replying to an earlier citation by myself in the columns of BMJ Judge Eady’s statement (HERE) entitled ‘Original Sources Best’. The implication of Morgan’s post is that I had in some unspecified way quoted Eady out of context by citing Melanie Phillips’ Spectator article ‘A Deer in the Headlights’ (HERE) rather than the judgement itself, which is difficult to locate on the web.

This is Morgan’s letter (HERE):

“John Stone, Age of Autism, quotes (24th February 2010) from an article by Melanie Phillips, 'A deer in the headlights', The Spectator 16 February 2009, when naming Brian Deer as complainant about Dr Wakefield to the GMC.

I suggest the more appropriate citation would have been the original Queen’s Bench Division judgement of 21st December 2006, by THE HON. MR JUSTICE EADY, from which the Phillips quote was taken, because this sheds light on the subsequently much pondered process by which the identities of patients and parents were disclosed. There really was no mystery. Disclosure to Channel Four Television Corporation, Twenty Twenty Productions Ltd and Brian Deer was ordered by the court under strict conditions.

“Furthermore, a search on the law resource site:
HERE using search terms “Wakefield Deer Eady” gives two results. The second earlier one, from 4 November 2005, sheds further light on events surrounding abandoned libel proceedings commenced by Dr Wakefield.”

So far, however, BMJ have had neither the courtesy or the integrity to post my response:

“ 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...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 (
HERE) , 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).”

It should be added that not only have BMJ not allowed me to post they were also aware from previous correspondence that Deer had posted this material on the web prior to the Eady ruling and for this reason – whether Mr Morgan was aware of it or not – his letter was also totally misleading on this point.

I believe this represents intolerably shoddy standards on the part of the British medical establishment. 

John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.


Theresa O

This just in: the *Lancet* fired one of its editors because she didn't like how they re-wrote her editorial. Disagree with Elsevier, and you're done for...

Jim Thompson

From David Nicholson, “Beware a Conflict of Interest,” The Scientist, August 23, 2001:

“As long ago as 1998, Richard Smith, editor of the British Medical Journal (BMJ), wrote in an editorial that, ‘Those who argue against concerns about conflict of interest say that science is science, methods are transparent, data either support the conclusions or do not… [But] this argument is becoming steadily less tenable as evidence accumulates on the influence of conflict of interest.’

Smith cited two studies — one in the New England Journal of Medicine and the second in the Journal of the American Medical Association — that show that scientists with financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies and the tobacco industry were much more likely to find results favourable to those industries.” See


The phrases, in other comments below, which include “Anatomy of a Crisis” and “Conclusions,” are from Godlee’s power point presentation entitled “The Next MMR? Could We Do Better?”

While there is no accompanying dialogue to determine the intent of each slide, the context seems clear--promote vaccines.

Consider the slides on pages 3 and 29 with the following text:

“Result: Problems for future vaccination efforts”


“The next MMR? Autism and DTP…”

The context seems to be from the perspective of PHARMA--preparation for the next vaccine injury issue, including the next set of problems for future vaccination efforts.

This reveals Godlee’s bias in this issue, with a total lack of neutral stance on vaccine safety issues, and she should be removed from position of BMJ editor.

Jim Thompson


“Managing the press”

See page 4 at

Jim Thompson


“Awareness of competing interest at all levels”

See page 32 at

John Stone


Frankly, I think she always had an agenda:

Media Scholar

I think it is high time John Stone consider this:

Why not? All you have to do is:

1) roll your eyes whenever the word Thimerosal is used, 2) act stupid about your knowledge of vaccine-induced neurological disorder, and 3) high-five your partners over at the vaccine-manufacturing drug companies and the government house when you successfully plant either a anti-litigation bloc of Autism research press release or cut and paste the latest vaccine industry porn.

Here's what John would get:

Alongside a competitive salary we also offer an excellent benefits
package, which includes:

• Pension scheme
• 29 days’ holiday
• Paid charity days – 2 days per year
• Save as you earn share scheme (SAYE)
• Flexible benefits and a wide range of discounts

Look whom the Wellcome Trust sponsored at a recent brain washing festival for for so called "science journalists"?

Just take a guess before you click this:

Yup. Foreign spy Brian Deer. That's who.

"I did a period on a Wellcome Trust traveling scholarship to look at small bowel transplantation. I went to the world's leading center which was Toronto at the time. And then, we may made some discoveries, some observations there that led into a research career when I came back to the UK and started working initially on the liver transplant program at the Royal Free Hospital and then joined in with the gastroenterology team and continued from that point." - Andrew Wakefield


It is painfully obvious that all is not well at the BMJ: the editorship may not live in Denmark but there is something very rotten about the state they’re really in.

On the one hand the editor suppresses dissent about Southall - and Meadow, his partner in various crimes against justice – while on the other the BMJ stifles support for Andrew Wakefield and his two professorial colleagues. The GMC ostensibly gets it wrong about Meadow and Southall but could not conceivably be mistaken about Wakefield, Walker-Smith and Murch – as Fiona Godlee would have us believe.

Hold your nose: the BMJ is in a state of feverish fester, a big fish rotting from the head down.

Jim Thompson

The British Medical Journal has crossed the line and goes far beyond the observation by Marshall McLuhan that “The medium is the message.”

The BMJ fails to disclose that John Deer reports on a story that he creates--by submitting a complaint to the General Medical Council.

The content of the British Medical Journal has zero integrity because the reader is clueless as to the bias and conflict of interest that exists behind the scenes.


Is Eady's judgment not public information?

The attitude of the BMJ appears to be driven by the desire to avoid conflict with Deer's lawyers at all costs; ethics having no role in such a loaded issue.

Isabella Thomas

Inside the UK: 0161 923 6602 Outside the UK: +44 161 923 6602 Details to contact the General Medical Council and voice your concerns on how they can attack Dr. Wakefield, Professor Walker-Smith and Professor Simon Murch on 24th May who helped our sick children. This is especially important if you cannot make the rally in America or the UK

Jenny Allan

I think Melanie Phillips is wonderful and you are not bad yourself John Stone!! Get a load of of this UK Daily Mail article. It is 7 years old!!

kathy blanco

If you stand with Dr. Wakefield & want to help save our children from continued harm & disease, send this communication everywhere, including media & stand by for an important message & action alert. Please spread the word in this notice like wild fire;
"Let this notice serve as warning to all entities behind the orchestrated efforts of the witch hunt against Dr. Andrew Wakefield & his two colleagues, Dr. Walker & Dr. Smith, as well as the well being of our children. You had better think twice before trying to pull off another kangaroo court this coming Monday. You don't dare to take these good doctors licenses away because you don't want to meet our wrath you have been fueling. "We The People" are many & we will be watching. We will save our children by bringing them out of harms way, no matter what more you do to cover up the truth. We will be holding accountable every person we find who works to hold our children in harms way. You can all take that to your bank."

"CONFLICT OF INTEREST REVEALS REAL REASON WHY WAKEFIELD IS BEING ATTACKED: LANCET IN LEAGUE WITH GLAXO-SMYTHE KLINE (MMR VACCINE MANUFACTURER IN UK - GUILTY OF DISTRIBUTING CONTAMINATED MMR VACCINE IN 80's) - Sir Crispin Davis was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Reed Elsevier Group, (which owns The Lancet) in September, 1999. He is also: Non-executive director of GlaxoSmithKline


Cleanliness doesn't appear to be next to Godleeness in this case. Sleaziness maybe.

Ad this isn't abstract corruption: children are dying and losing their minds. Godlee can take a bow for playing her part.


Shoddy indeed!

To know this evil so up close and personal, makes me have no hope in other areas of our two governments.

We have lost our way, and I keep hoping we will find our way back, but good people everywhere have to fight. So far those good people choose to look the other way.

angus files

Thats it John Deer and the BMJ are LIAR LIARS...

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