Change in Time
National Vaccine Advisory Committee Meetings 9/13 and 14

British Medical Journal Sabotages Free Academic Discourse Over Wakefield/Lancet Paper

Godlee British Medical Journal has acted to sabotage free academic discourse over the Wakefield/Lancet paper

By John Stone

BMJ editor, Fiona Godlee’s National Institutes of Health  presentation last Tuesday (September 6, 2011  )  is still not available on-line, and it is hard to understand what is delaying it. In the meantime my letter to her of the following day, submitted to BMJ on-line, has also not been posted. If the case is so seamless Dr Godlee why are you so frightened to allow free discussion in BMJ’s columns?


"Bethesda presentation: can we revert to normal academic standards and courtesies?"



Dear Fiona Godlee,

I was astounded by much in your presentation to the US National Institutes of Health at Bethesda (just outside Washington DC) on Tuesday. Among other things you remarked that Brian Deer had responded to criticisms of his BMJ papers made on the web. Unfortunately, the reason why many of these criticisms appeared on the web was because publication in BMJ itself had been denied.

Given the seriousness of Mr Deer's allegations and BMJ's support of them, would it not be appropriate, fair and decent for BMJ to open its columns to civilised discourse, so that Mr Deer can answer criticisms in BMJ itself, and not in such illustrious blogs as 'Respectful Insolence' and 'Left Brain/Right Brain', where BMJ doesn't have to take any responsibility for them.

With all good wishes,

John Stone

Competing interests:

Autistic son


Mark Struthers

As a UK doctor, I was profoundly disappointed by Godlee’s appearance at the Fogarty International Center last week. One disappointment (out of many) was Godlee’s flatfooted trip over … the failures of the government, the media and even the (piously hypocritical) medical establishment … in getting across the message that all vaccines, particularly the MMR, are safe for all people, at all times.

Godlee says (39m 33),

… “As for looking back … why the message didn’t get across … there’s a whole host of.. um …reasons one might look to …this is thinking about the early days of the scare, why the government didn’t make a better case in the UK to .. kind of … contain things .. um .. I think one has to say that negative studies are not good news … stutter … are not news … so in the place of this single twelve children case series, which seemed to suggest something positive but dreadful .. nervous titter ... negative studies would suggest … barely audible tsk … strongly confirm something negative but positive .. um … sorry … negative but good for health … are not such, such important news. It’s also, I think it’s fair to say, a very complex story” …

Indeed, Dr Godlee!

Of course, I think it’s fair to recall, at this stage, the flatfooted case of Professor Sir* David Salisbury, UK director of immunisation and bulwark of the British medical establishment, who acted as an expert witness for the prosecution of Andrew Wakefield, in the longest and most expensive trial in UK medical history. In front of the GMC, the professor declared that the MMR had an “exemplary safety record” … despite the fact that the vaccine had been withdrawn from UK use, in 1992, because the vaccine was unsafe.

I also think it would be fair to suggest that Dr Godlee should now take the opportunity to trip - flat-footedly - off the UK and international stage.

* although not yet awarded, a knighthood for services to vaccine safety, is a racing certainty

Theresa O

Thank you, Jenny Allan, for clearing up a few things.

All I meant was that the GMC findings about the three men (Wakefield, Walker-Smith, and Murch) were regarding their fitness to practice medicine (which is why the birthday party blood donation item was brought up, right?). No official UK government statement has been made about the research--no official government body has charged Wakefield or any of the others with fraud... so Godlee is going above and beyond anything one can consider proved, when she says that Wakefield's research was fraudulent.

(This is not to say that the GMC proceedings weren't really about the MMR... just that Wakefield--unlike Poul Thorsen--has never been indicted for fraud, much less found guilty.)

Mark Struthers

Sickening! Godlee’s performance was shocking!

Towards the end of the performance Godlee was heard to say …

… “you’re absolutely right, Andrew Wakefield is a very good communicator … umm … and I think that where you put him up against officials with less skill in that way, they appear very flatfooted …. but he is very …. he’s a very clever man …”

It seems unlikely that Andrew Wakefield will have ever have come up against a more flatfooted establishment official than this.

Competing interests: GMC registered practitioner appalled at the flatfooted state of the medical establishment in the UK.

Jenny Allan

It's a pity there has been so much misinformation put out in the US about the Wakefield MMR issues, some of which unfortunately gets repeated in these Wakefield friendly AoA comments.

Theresa, Dr Andrew Wakefield WAS NOT employed as a clinician at the Royal Free Hospital. He was a RESEARCH SCIENTIST, based in his laboratory with NO clinical access to patients. The diagnostic procedures on the Lancet 12 children were all carried out by Royal Free clinical staff, led by Professor Walker-Smith, who was also 'struck off' the medical register by the GMC at the same time as Dr Wakefield. He is appealing this decision in the High Court. The 1998 Lancet article had a dozen different contributors. Dr Wakefield merely collated and wrote up the final paper, based upon the clinicians’ notes and histopathology results.

In the UK, as John Stone pointed out, there has been very little public response to those three BMJ Deer articles 'Secrets of the MMR scare', Jan/Feb 2011.

How the case against the MMR vaccine was fixed’
How the vaccine crisis was meant to make money
The Lancet’s two days to bury bad news

The only UK newspaper to publish a Wakefield vilification based on the first Deer article was the Murdoch cheap 'lad's rag' The Sun, with its bare breasted page three beauties and extensive sport coverage. The other two articles have had a virtual press 'news blackout' on both sides of the Atlantic, due almost certainly, to legal fears of litigation due to the unproven, skewed and potentially libellous contents. Godlee attempted to have the second Deer article restricted, but it was reinstated, following her pious comments about free BMJ access to these articles being in the 'public interest'.

The Guardian rather stupidly allowed Deer to write a blog about his BMJ articles. This infamous rant embarrassed the Guardian enough to make them keep changing the url to discourage internet access. I won't bother to quote from it again, but amongst other things, Deer criticises Paul Offit and Ben Goldacre. Paul Offit, who used some of Deer's BMJ material in his book 'Deadly Choices' had the ignominious experience of having the UK intended editions pulped, after a challenge from Richard Barr, a lawyer previously involved with the 1000+ allegedly MMR damaged children, whose legal aid was pulled by Judge Davis. Offit was stupid enough to repeat Deer’s ridiculous assertions.

There have been some recent attempts to resurrect these childrens’ legal cases after the MMR Urabe scandal, 1988-1992, was exposed in the Scottish press under the 20 year rule which reveals formerly secret UK government papers.

One particularly scandalous aspect of this ongoing saga is the re-jigging by the BMJ of Deer’s 2009 article in Murdoch's Sunday Times; (see my previous comment below).

MMR doctor Andrew Wakefield fixed data on autism

The Times article was published in Feb 2009, shortly before News International director James Murdoch was made a director of MMR manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline.

The GMC final verdicts were announced in July 2010, more than 17 months later.

So we might well be entitled to ask Godlee & Co, when they keep banging on about being entitled to 'rely on the GMC decisions', whether they considered Brian Deer to have been psychic with a crystal ball in 2009, or whether they were all well aware in advance what the GMC verdicts would be. Godlee, rather stupidly, stated on that also infamous BBC Radio 4 'Science Betrayed' programme, that Deer 'helped' the GMC with their investigations.

So this is 'British Justice' the GMC, BMJ and Murdoch way.
Publish the guilty verdicts in advance. Ignore the facts. Make up other allegations and state them as facts -a bit like the Spanish Inquisition in fact.

Theresa O

Hi, Nick,

As Jake Crosby pointed out in his questions to Godleee, certain items about the children's health (whether the children with Asperger's had a pre-existing condition, or regressed; whether bowel pathology was found) are verifiable, and as Jake pointed out, Deer is the one who is factually incorrect.

The rest of it ("paid by a lawyer to influence his results and had blatantly manipulated the study data") is pure mudslinging. Did a lawyer confide to Deer that he had handed Wakefield a check in order to influence some aspect of his research? Did anyone dummy up pathology reports? Not to my knowledge--and this would be the sort of verification one would hope the *BMJ* would have tried to find, before running with the Deer allegations.

I think you and I are both trying to see this one through the lens of how things are *supposed* to operate--not how (unfortunately) they end up happening in the real world.


Thanks Theresa,

I didn't believe I had missed anything from the GMC, but wondered if there was something "credible" {hard to believe} from Godlee or Deer that they had introduced that could be verified somehow. So, what you are saying is that it basically amounts to more mudslinging.

Theresa O


That's the thing: the GMC didn't make any of these statements about fraud, being paid by a lawyer, or manipulating data. Brian Deer made these statements, and now Fiona Godlee (I keep typing "Godless," haha) is repeating them. The GMC's problems with Wakefield had nothing to do with the quality of his data; they had to do with his treatment of patients. Although many of us disagree with its findings, the GMC has been somewhat transparent about its proceedings, and has made what I believe to be errors in judgment, rather than outright libel.

The GMC said, for example, that lumbar punctures weren't warranted. No one disputes that spinal taps were performed on some of Wakefield's patients; however, the GMC is choosing to believe that they weren't warranted, rather than accepting the opinion of Wakefield, Walker-Smith, and Murch that they were part of a valid diagnostic inquiry. Brian Deer's allegations, on the other hand, are different *in fact* from what Wakefield and his colleagues have said, and since Deer's reports were not part of a legal proceeding, no rules of evidence have been applied to Deer's statements.

It's all pretty shady, and I find it extremely bothersome that the *BMJ* is just taking the word of a journalist (who may have a financial conflict of interest), rather than doing an investigation of its own into the facts of the *Lancet* case series, if the BMJ had any actual doubt as to the veracity of the facts published in the *Lancet.*


"discovering Wakefield had been paid by a lawyer to influence his results"

Who is the puported lawyer? Has he given a testimony on the subject? Is there a record of payment from this lawyer to Wakefield and any evidence Wakefield received such payment?

Also, in the linked article it says:

"Confidential medical documents and interviews with witnesses have established that Andrew Wakefield manipulated patients’ data"

Given the very serous nature of the accussation and the importance of the issue it would seem that the GMC would want the transgressions to be understood as transparently as possible. This would mean that the public would know who the witnesses are and hear their damning accounts. Maybe I have not been catching everything, but are any of these transparencies in the public domain? Could not the data be revealed showing the manipulation along wiht witnesses validation without revealing the identity of the the patients or the witnesses. That would be much better than hearing confidential records and witnesses that to my understanding have only spoken to "investigators" and whose words have not been released in transcript. If some or all of this information is public someone please point me to it, or confrim whatever actually is case in this matter.

Deer caught in the headlights

So, now that Dr Wakefield is in the US, and Dr Godlee's presentation was in the US, does Wakefield have a case for slander/libel in an American court, given that Godlee was unable to back up anything she said?

I was wondering exactly the same thing as I read these lies on the NIH's videocast website:

Please join BMJ Editor Fiona Godlee for a discussion of the stunning investigation she published earlier this year that revealed the MMR scare was based not on bad science but on deliberate fraud. The three-part series was produced by journalist Brian Deer, who spent seven years investigating Andrew Wakefield’s infamous study linking the MMR vaccine with autism, discovering Wakefield had been paid by a lawyer to influence his results and had blatantly manipulated the study data.

Theresa O

So, now that Dr Wakefield is in the US, and Dr Godlee's presentation was in the US, does Wakefield have a case for slander/libel in an American court, given that Godlee was unable to back up anything she said? Certainly, being found guilty of misconduct (regarding treatment of patients) by the GMC is one thing, and academic research fraud is completely another, and could affect Wakefield's job opportunities at research labs. (Just trying to think like a lawyer here... Even accepting the GMC conclusions does not make Wakefield a bad researcher...)

John Stone

Fundamentally, if you are going to make allegations you need to be on top of your subject and Godlee isn't. There is also an echo here of Richard Horton who made allegations against Wakefield in 2004 which were just plain wrong, and were repeated by by him under oath in 2007:

But actually we seem to have the reverse of justice where the people making the allegations are perpetually given the benefit of the doubt and the people on the receiving end are always denied it: indeed in the case of many of the allegations there is somewhat more than doubt.


Thank you Mark Struthers. Ongoing pressure should be placed on Dr.Fiona Godlee regarding the BMJ's massive financial
ties to the pharma/vaccine-industrial complex.Full disclosure about advertising funds,educational grants, promotional income,free meals and trips etc.The system is corrupted,it is time to explore this issue and she needs to speak up. All eyes need to be on her.

John Stone


So many points where she didn't seem to have a basic grasp of factual detail - she also claimed that the case collapsed some time in the late 90s? Has she never heard of Judge Davis?


Yes she also spoke as if Deer's claims in BMJ were completely new - a revelation - when it was just re-cycled garbage from the Sunday Times. If she bought it as a whole new package she really was incompetent, but is it remotely credible? Truth is that the Sunday Times launch of 2009 had nil impact outside News International, so presumably had to be done again with pseudo rubber stamp of peer review. Even then it made little progress in the UK before the BBC's trashy, commercially surrendered science department got hold of it.

I don't get this bit about senior British medical journal editors suffering from vagueness (Horton seems to have the same difficulties).

Martin Hewitt

Dr Godlee also claimed the UK class action against the three MMR manufacturers had collapsed. Wrong again. Legal aid was withdrawn and the case could not progress without claimants' families bearing immense and impossible costs. Justice Keith said in his closing statement that the merits of the case remained to be heard. In the US there have been at least 80 plus cases where vaccine damaged autistic children reached out of court settlements with the US government.

Jenny Allan

John Stone asks:-
'So, who is trying to be misleading?'

Did anyone else notice that projected picture of the British Medical Journal COVER and the headline, 'How the case against the MMR was BUILT.' This design incorporated the words into bricks. The edition was the one containing the first Brian Deer article from the series 'Secrets of the MMR scare.'

The title of this article was actually, 'How the case against the MMR vaccine was FIXED.' This title and the content was almost identical to the 2009 Murdoch Sunday Times Brian Deer article:-
'MMR doctor Andrew Wakefield fixed data on autism.'

This seems to be a classic case of a 'smoke and mirrors' presentation by the BMJ and Godlee in particular.
'Building' a case and 'fixing' a case are at opposite ends of a very misleading spectrum.

John Stone

Godlee surely never understood what she was getting herself into. In February she was forced to admit, thanks to AoA readers, that the GP record used by Deer were a red herring:

“The case we presented against Andrew Wakefield that the 1998 Lancet paper was intended to mislead is not critically reliant on GP records.”

and fall back position became a general allusion to the findings of the GMC which, however, are under appeal by Prof Walker-Smith, if not by Andrew Wakefield (for reasons of the impossible costs). But, of course, this is a legally disgraceful argument anyway. While AoA doesn't accept the GMC findings the idea that it is alright to pronounce someone guilty of all manner of other things on the back of a quasi-legal findings about something else is an outrage.

One conclusion you could draw from this (whether you see her at work in the British Parliament, the BBC, the NIH) is not that she knows what she's doing, but she is doing what a lot of people want her to do. As I pointed out back in January she was appointed in 2004 after another Power Point presentation to Brtish National Formulary 'The next MMR -could we do better?', based on the apparent belief the vaccines are always safe and the public have to be kept in their place:

This is, of course, a matter of being relentlessly on message (and it is about them and us). And of course by now - still on the same MMR - it is about creating an impossible jumble of information so no one can ever get to grips with it, and any attempt will be excluded from her journal.

So, who is trying to be misleading?

Michelle Wandrack

Off topic but had to get it out of my system. Vons grocery stores are advertising 20% discount off total orders for anyone getting a flu shot. Guess FOOD INC is in bed with BIG PHARMA.

Jenny Allan

I couldn't bring myself to listen to the entire Godlee lecture either. In a technological world this mumbling, embarrassingly amateurish effort would not be acceptable for teachers in high school. Maybe Godlee can't do Powerpoint. I am beginning to wonder what she CAN do, other than a talent for 'prevaricating around the bush'?

Fast forward to the questions. Yes Jake-you were terrific. I was very pleased to see that you got Godlee speechless when you pointed out that the GMC DID NOT find Wakefield guilty of fraud; that was the BMJ -and you pinned her down on the veracity of Deer's reporting. Your final statement that DEER was the fraudster produced a gratifying silence. It hit home all right before the lecture manager insisted on 'moving on!'

I copied out a Godlee quote in a reply to another question.
'We must be absolutely frank clear and open with the public.'
Yes please Fiona and about time if I may say so!

Jake-You are a star!!

Jenny Allan

The link to the recorded Godlee lecture at Bethesda can be accessed from here.

Theresa O

The Godlee presentation is now available online. I skipped ahead to the Jake part, and this is what I got:

Jake: (1) Deer says a few of the kids didn't regress, but had Aspergers instead. The truth is that Aspergers is an ASD, and the kids did regress. (2) Deer says that a few of the kids didn't have bowel pathology. The truth is that they did.

Godlee: (1) We can talk about that later. (2) The report didn't accurately describe the timeline and personnel involved in investigating the bowel pathology.

Is this really all that she's standing on when she says that Wakefield committed fraud? This seems totally insane to me.


Why so much fear why no honesty , i can smell the dishonesty from here he,s very quiet isnt he are we all getting to close for comfort ,excellent pieces John you always get to the core , no answer because you make such a good point always

Mark Struthers

The Lancet and BMJ are pillars of the medical establishment – allegedly. [1] Dr Richard Horton and Dr Fiona Godlee are editors in chief of the twin pillars that underpin the worldwide reputation of the medical profession in the UK. The profession needs to trust that those supports will be firmly grounded and that there will be no wobble: honesty and openness are vital in fostering trust. The BMJ cannot possibly be seen as trustworthy until its editor engages in an honest, open, and transparent way.

[1] Adam Rutherford. BBC Radio 4, Science Betrayed, Episode 2, 31 March 2011.

Competing interests: former BMA member (28 years) currently paying £88.13 per annum (expires soon) for online BMJ subscription, and yet unable to engage with BMJ on anything, let alone the failure of the editor to adequately disclose the BMJ’s massive financial ties to the vaccine-industrial-complex.


Thanks John my bad, regret the error.

Science Op

Bruce Tonge, emeritus psychiatry professor at Monash University, agreed that many subtypes of autism were likely to emerge.

"It has been for some time known that at least for some children with autism, their brains grow too rapidly in the first couple of years of life and then plateau out," Professor Tonge said.

"So further refinement of that knowledge will be important. Currently, a number of people are also looking for other possible environmental contributing factors, and the interaction between the environment and a person's immune system might be an interesting possibility there."

Science Op

University of California Research presented in Australia

Study moves towards unlocking autism mystery
A new study has discovered there are different biological types of autism, with genetics, the immune system and the environment all thought to be factors in causing the varied forms.

A study of 350 children in the US found two biologically different types of brain development in autism and concluded that there are likely to be more.

"One worry is that anything from pesticides to other kinds of agents that we introduce into the environment may actually be causing or at least may be exacerbating the causes of autism - 55 per cent of the risk for having autism in this study was attributed to shared environmental factors," he said.

"I think that in the United States, and worldwide, people are taking more seriously the idea that the environment may be contributing the rise in autism."


What triggers underlying gene expression, has an effect directly on the immune system and is environmental ?


Researchers from the University of California Davis's MIND Institute in Sacramento began the Autism Phenome Project in 2006. They have been studying the brain growth, environmental exposure and genetic make-up of 350 children aged between two and 3.5 years, and have so far found two biologically distinct subtypes of autistic brain development.

One group of children -- all boys -- had enlarged brains and most had regressed into autism after 18 months of age; another group appeared to have immune systems that were not functioning properly.

Psychiatry professor David Amaral, who led the MIND Institute's longitudinal study, said the findings could lead to more individualized treatment. "The ultimate goal is when a child comes into the clinic, rather than saying you just have autism, to be able to say you have autism type A, or type B, or type C," Amaral said.

"And then based on that description, we would know whether there is a different treatment profile that we should recommend to the families.

"As an example, if a child has an immune form of autism, it may be that what we want to do is manipulate their immune system rather than trying something else that may be related to synaptic functions in the brain."

Families were currently presented with a vast array of treatments without necessarily knowing which worked, he said.

Amaral predicted there would be many more biological subtypes of autism identified just as there were many forms of cancer. "If we were trying to cure all cancer at the same time, it would be hopeless," he said. "Well, the same is true for autism. My guess is that there just isn't going to be a single diagnostic marker for autism -- there's going to be a whole panel."

John Stone


Just to say, of course, that Bernardine Healy died last month (6 August 2011).



Under the heading of maybe not a coincidence, Johns Hopkins is the center of important vaccine safety discussions. The Advisory Committee on Vaccine Practices meets at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Also under aegis of Hopkins is the Kennedy Kreiger Institute, highly regarded for brain injury treatment and research.

Two individuals at Hopkins have been at the exact epicenter of the theorized association between vaccines and permanent brain damage. Leo Kanner from 1930 to 1959 was Director and Chief of Child Psychiatry. He identified and described autism in 1943 as a "novel , new disorder." Dr Andrew Zimmerman is currently Director of Medical Neuroscience, Center for Autism and Related Disorders at Kennedy Kreiger, and a Yale man to boot. He testified in two highly publicized vaccine/autism claims; at Cedillo v HHS, he testified that vaccines were not implicated in autism; interestingly, later, he testified in Poling v HHS that vaccines caused a pre-existing condition to deteriorate to autism as a result of the childhood shots.

Bloomberg School on August 19, 2011 hosted Brian Deer's presentation "An Elaborate Fraud: Vaccines and Autism" at Sommer Hall to an adoring, fawning reception. Deer was assigned by the Murdoch owned Sunday London Times in 2004 to, in his own words, "get something big" on the MMR shot. One can only imagine the means by which he went about his task.

Fast forward to 9-6-2011. Fiona Godlee, editor of the British Medical Journal, gives a presentation at the Bethesda main campus of National Institutes of Health entitled "The Fraud Behind the MMR Scare". Godlee was discussing BMJ's recent three part editorial, actually written by Deer, alleging that Andrew Wakefield committed deliberate fraud by manipulating and falsifying data reported in the retracted 1998 Lancet article Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperlasia non specific colitis and pervasive development disorder.

The Godlee NIH event is as shameful as the Deer Bloomberg School event. Bernadine Healy, past director of NIH, passed away only in October of this year. Although she was not qualified as a Murdoch Journalist, she did say on CBS Nightly News that a vaccine brain damage association is not ruled out. The Merck Manual lists encephalitis as the most common vaccine adverse reaction. This is a replay of the NIH lead paint/gasoline fiasco. Dr. Herbert Needleman describes his experience in a special article in Pediatrics Vol 90 No. 6 entitled Salem Comes to the National Institutes of Health: Notes from Inside the Crucible of Scientific Integrity. Needleman saved his reputation, despite the efforts of NIH, and now kids are not exposed to lead in paint and gasoline.

Fiona Godlee considers Murdoch journalism to be an acceptable standard for BMJ, and what a sad day indeed for that august publication.She did not explain how Deer got access to private medical records (hacking? Blagging?). She did not reveal Deer filed the original complaint against Wakefield with the General Medical Council in England, and then proceeded to report on the complaint that had been filed with the General Medical Council in England. The tail wagging the dog in in the most literal sense. Professor John Walker-Smith, described by Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition as "the premier, if not the premier, pediatric gastroenterologist in the world…"was disgraced along side Wakefield, and both Hopkins and NIH are complicit in their professional destruction. Anyone at Bloomberg and NIH who is uncritically accepting Deer's shameless self promoting nonsense, and even gloating about it, should remember one thing: publish the wrong little tidbit, and it could happen to you.

NIH and CDC maintain the searchable site Vaccine Adverse Reporting System or VAERS. VAERS currently lists 58,367 reportable adverse effects linked to MMR. Since VAERS is under reported by a factor between 1 and 100, the actual number of adverse reactions to the MMR shot is somewhere between 580,000 and 5,800,000. Perhaps Wakefield, like Needleman before him, was onto something after all.

Angus Files

The cardigan she wears is along the psychology of dog training where the dogs become used to your smells (just ask Barbara Woodhouse) that’s why she wore the same skirt for 20 years…YUK!!
Fiona ditch the cardigan or you too will be dropped from the mutual appreciation society meets…...

Shiny Happy People apart from Fiona ..won`t do ..

John Stone


Just to be clear, Deer has never posted in response to criticisms anything that would have stood scrutiny in an academic journal, which was perhaps too implicitly part of my point. If Deer had posted in BMJ what he posted on the blogs of Gorski and Leitch the charade would have immediately been exposed. On the other hand he has never responded to the serious criticisms posted on CHS and AoA. For a start:-

Of course, this material in one form or another has been submitted to BMJ over and over.


Sorry John but you have it wrong this time. Deer has not responded to the criticisms on the web. He did not even do so when the UK's Guardian national daily newspaper let him rant in a blog on how as he claims the BMJ and Lancet are an "insidious cartel" in medical publishing. Instead what happened was BMJ used the "Big Sister" ploy and set BMJ Deputy Editor Trisha Groves on the case with a response by her saying Deer's article was peer reviewed and if people do not like it they can sue [which is not an appropriate response for a supposedly scientific journal]. If they cannot answer they should pull the piece.

You need to publish a correction to this AoA piece. That is to ensure people know the true position.

Deer cannot answer the criticisms of his "peer reviewed" BMJ article used as the basis for the BMJ Editor Godlee's accusations of fraud against Wakefield. And the BMJ is covering it up themselves by withholding publication on their Rapid Responses and in their journal too. This is while they continue not to disclose fully or properly their conflicting financial interests and ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

If there has been fraud, the one person who has not committed it is Andrew Wakefield.

And for those interested in sartorial elegance, Godlee's presentation to the NIH was not professional down to her hair which had not been combed and the scruffy cardigan and "T" shirt she wore. No US medical professional man or woman would have appeared and given such a lecture dressed so scruffily and especially not someone who is meant to be the Editor-in-Chief of a supposedly world-leading medical journal.

That is a mark of the lack of judgement of this BMJ Editor that she does not appear even to know how to present herself in public or in keeping with the position she holds.

Perhaps the reason her presentation is not available on the NIH website, unlike their previous webcasts which are, is because frankly it is possibly an embarrassment.

Jenny Allan

Dear Fiona Godlee,

I endorse the comments made by John Stone (reproduced below), regarding the refusal by the BMJ to allow proper debate with the BMJ pages regarding the Brian Deer fraud allegations made against Dr Andrew Wakefield within the published articles 'Secrets of the MMR scare' Janurary/February 2011. The GMC manifestly DID NOT find Dr Wakefield guilty of fraud.

I am also extremely concerned about the recent US lectures by yourself and Brian Deer, which further publicised these unproven allegations against Dr Wakefield. The Brian Deer Powerpoint lecture on 19-04-11 at the Johns Hopkins University, is alleged to have contained a great deal of outrageous and possibly slanderous 'showman type' content, including depictions of playing cards and 'Jackpots of money'. This referred to what Deer insists on calling a Wakefield competing MMR vaccine, but was actually a measles damage ameliorating substance developed by Dr Wakefield during his research. The patent was held by the Royal Free Hospital NOT Dr Wakefield and any 'jackpots of money' could have helped those thousands of children, all affected by the devastating gut condition which the non medical, non histopathology trained Brian Deer claims to be non existent, if only.

There have been no published transcripts of any of these US Deer lectures or your own. The lack of open public debate on these issues tells its own story. Can I remind you of your own comments made to the UK Science and Technology Select Committee in May this year? This seems incompatible with your claiming, during your Bethesda lecture, to have been ignorant of the huge BMJ funding received from MMR manufacturers GSK and Merck.
“We have to acknowledge that the publishing industry has a number of different revenue streams, one of which is the pharmaceutical industry.”

“It has been said that journals are the marketing arm of the pharma industry and that is not untrue; to a large extent that is true,”

You are a mother too. How can you live with yourself? What will you tell your own children?
This is an open letter.
Jennifer Helen Allan

Competing interest
Autistic Grandson with the bowel condition as described by Dr Andrew Wakefield in the 1998 Lancet paper.


It is amazing John, how certain individuals who consider themselves in 'authority' will have a one-sided argument that clearly only suits them.

Take my situation with my son;

Everyone I have written to, from the Governor of Victoria, the Attorney General, the member for Mental Health Services, the president of VCAT and many more linked or associated or involved with decision making has fallen on 'deaf ears.'

When will our Autistic children see 'justice?'

P.S. The battle with the council and neighbours still rages!

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