Jackie Fletcher of UK Vaccine Safety Group JABS Writes to BMJ About Wakefield Libel Suit
Yesterday BMJ posted some of a letter that Jackie wrote to the journal but we thought AoA readers might like the opportunity to real the whole thing. We mark in bold the passages left out in BMJ on-line
RE: Wakefield sues BMJ over MMR articles
Starting in February there will be an appeal against the GMC ruling by Professor John Walker Smith at the High Court in London and then a US Court appearance for Mr Deer, BMJ Editor Dr Godlee and the BMJ representatives to defend a libel action brought by Dr Wakefield sometime later this year (or maybe next). I trust that all claims/counter claims can be thoroughly tested with all the appropriate evidence being heard and supported by witnesses. I hope that these legal proceedings will help to expose those responsible at the highest level for one of the biggest medical scandals in history and those fighting the rearguard action to defend the MMR vaccine will be found out. The hounding of the co-authors of The Lancet paper has been a very disturbing but clever diversion which, in my opinion, was designed to distract attention from the main issue, the MMR disaster.
I just wish Mr Deer had used his considerable talents to hound the committee responsible for introducing a vaccine, brands of which had already been withdrawn in other countries for causing neurological problems. I wish Mr Deer had used his time and energy to expose the people responsible for allowing the continued use of MMR vaccines when children were reported to have suffered problems in the opening weeks of the MMR campaign back in 1988. I wish he had used his efforts to expose the inadequacies of the Government's yellow card scheme which has been ineffective since it began. Mr Deer was informed of this and much more but for some reason chose to investigate the one team of doctors who had raised a flag over the MMR and possible side effects.
I would like to remind/inform your readers that the problems with MMR were known about by the UK Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation at least eight months before they sanctioned its use in the UK. (1) This was way back in 1988, ten years before The Lancet case series early report was published.
From the minutes of the JCVI Working Party On The Introduction of Measles, Mumps and Rubella Vaccine (11 February 1988):
'...5. MMR Vaccination In Canada
Members read a report of cases of mumps encephalitis which had been associated with MMR vaccine containing the URABE strain of the mumps virus. The Canadian authorities has suspended the licences of MMR vaccines containing the URABE strain but Dr Salisbury considered that the data on which the decision had been based was slender. It was agreed that North Hertfordshire would use the Jeryl-Lyn vaccine, if it was available from MSD, to obtain comparative data. A statement would be prepared in anticipation of any adverse publicity which might arise.'
The Government clearly was aware of the risks involved with the URABE containing vaccines (Pluserix and Immravax) before they were introduced and had the audacity to prepare an adverse publicity statement in readiness for what was potentially to come.
Problems with MMR vaccine began in the opening weeks/months of the new campaign starting in October 1988 as subsequently reported in the UK Daily Mail: 'MMR killed my daughter' 18th May 2004 (2) and the Sunday Express: 'Were all of these children killed by the triple MMR jab? by Lucy Johnston 13/1/02 (3)
In October 1997, four months before The Lancet publication, a meeting was held with the Health Minister and the Chief Medical Officer, Principal Medical Officer and other senior officers. The Health Minister was presented with details of some 1200 children and asked to instigate a clinical investigation into their ill health or death following MMR or MR vaccinations. This was never done. Most of the children had started with symptoms within the incubation period of the vaccines; symptoms that were recognised by the vaccine manufacturers and then they developed long term problems also recognised by the vaccine manufacturers within their product information sheets. The parents had reported to JABS that no treating physician had been able to determine any alternative medical explanation for the child's decline. Much money, time and effort has been spent on not studying these children. I think that those accusing Dr Wakefield should look long and hard at their own role in protecting government officials who indemnified vaccine manufacturers against any action for serious damage and deaths of children. That is the fraud.
This is not an MMR scare as has been widely claimed, this is, I repeat, an MMR disaster and there should be nowhere to hide for those responsible.
(1) JCVI minutes of meeting February 1988 http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/@dh/@ab/documents/digitalasset/dh_095328.pdf
JABS is a UK support group for parents of vaccine damaged children.
In his comment below the 'History of Vaccines' blog, denigrating Jackie Fletcher, Dr Anthony Cox states:-
"The problems associated with the Urabe strain of mumps have nothing to do with the MMR-autism hypothesis."
Oh No? Meningitis, encephalitis and seizures are all known to possibly cause neurological damage, and all were widespread adverse reactions to the Urabe mumps containing MMR vaccine, (UK 1988-1992).
Strangely, 'John's' comments (below), also attempt to separate the Urabe MMR vaccine damage from the MMR vaccine autism issues. I wonder why the trolls are so worried about persons making this connection?!!
Posted by: Jenny Allan | January 29, 2012 at 01:42 PM
This matter is disgraceful and ought to have been exposed years ago. Cox has been parading his bias and insensitivity on the web through his own website and LeftBrain/RightBrain for years while holding a position of public trust. This is intimidatory behaviour, and particularly in the case of Jackie, whose son was finally compensated after an 18 year battle in 2010. Yet, Cox describes her moderate organisation 'JABS' as a "cult". Of course, if he takes that view of vaccine damage concern he should not hold such a post, but the remarkable thing is that he brazenly declares it, and expects no action to be taken.
Posted by: John Stone | January 29, 2012 at 08:33 AM
The yellow card scheme is the mechanism by which the government, via the MHRA (Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency), allegedly monitors the safety of those medicines and vaccines in current use in the UK.
In her response to the BMJ, Jackie Fletcher refers to the 'inadequacies' of the yellow card scheme in relation to the safety of the MMR vaccine. This reference brought an extraordinary - and unprofessional - outburst from a 'Dr Anthony Cox' in the commentary on the 'History of Vaccines' blog.
Angus (below) described Cox as "morally squalid" and, of course, he's absolutely right. Despite his obviously squalid morality, Cox remains a senior pharmacovigilance pharmacist at the West Midlands Centre for Adverse Drug Reactions in Birmingham - which is a Regional Yellow Card Centre of the MHRA. His main academic interests apparently centre on drug safety and adverse drug reactions.
Posted by: Mark Struthers | January 29, 2012 at 07:42 AM
According to the recent article in Lupus by Lerner, Crohn's disease may be iatrogenic! How do the epidemiology of Crohn's, ulcerative colitis, and ASD compare? I suspect they might all represent clinical presentations of "ASIA". This should be front page news.
"The spectrum of ASIA: ‘Autoimmune (Auto-inflammatory) Syndrome induced by Adjuvants’" by N Agmon-Levin, GRV Hughes, and Y Shoenfeld1.
"Aluminum as an adjuvant in Crohn’s disease induction" by A Lerner
Posted by: patrons99 | January 28, 2012 at 07:32 PM
I posted a reply "being moderated"...eh!that was two days ago ...well if you can`t beat them just now...SHAME THEM...SHAME ON THEM!!!!
"Well done Jackie .Anthony Cox is "morally squalid” what he knows about science would fit on the back of a postage stamp.
JABS offers light when it seems only darkness prevails...
Posted by: Angus Files | January 26, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Why is it so difficult for the provax community to understand that autism is a disease of *environmental damage*. And measles exposure, mumps exposure, prenatal ssri exposure, mercury exposure and Al exposure are ALL part of the environment we bathe our neonates-->toddlers in.
For the profit of a few.
And the bankruptcy of the many.
Just because *some* kids had problems with the urabe mumps does NOT mean other kids didn't have a problem with measles. ANYTHING that can negatively effect neurological development (and consequently gut development) during CRITICAL phases is suspect. Including overuse of antibiotics that kill good bacteria necessary for proper neurological development (pubmed search lactobacillus and gaba, for example)
Posted by: HFAmomto3HFAgirls | January 26, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Wow, "John" here (Or Matthew Carey) sure seems "perplexed" in his BMJ post, doesn't he?
Are there pills for that?
Posted by: Susie Q | January 26, 2012 at 11:57 AM
"Much money, time and effort has been spent on not studying these children."
This is so true in both the US and the UK, and often we are accused of being to blame for the "wasted" time and money.
Posted by: Jeannette Bishop | January 26, 2012 at 11:23 AM
Matt Carey, the most recent incarnation of LeftBrain/RightBrain's 'Sullivan' has posted a challenge to Jackie in a rather similar vein to 'John' here on BMJ Rapid Responses, although Jackie probably has little chance of responding in an uncensored way
Meanwhile, I have added my two cents' worth:
Posted by: John Stone | January 26, 2012 at 11:06 AM
John says (about my comment)
"So if the Lancet children were autistic due to the mumps component, as your post implies, then Andrew Wakefield was at least wrong about the measles component, if not actively fraudulent."
Your comment asked what the Urabe Mumps containing MMR vaccine had to do with Dr Wakefield's libel case and I responded by stating that several Lancet 12 children had received this vaccine, but just to clarify what I DID NOT IMPLY but should have been self evident:-
Dr Wakefield's libel case against the BMJ, Editor Fiona Godlee and journalist Brian Deer is based on the Brian Deer BMJ article 'How the case against the MMR vaccine was fixed' and the accompanying Godlee et al editorial 'Wakefield's article linking MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent', both 5-01-11.
The above 2 articles are all based on the 1998 Wakefield et al Lancet paper entitled:- 'Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children.'
The Urabe mumps MMR vaccine caused specific widespread problems, which have been officially acknowledged. These include meningitis, encephalitis and seizures. All three of these can cause permanent neurological damage. It's a moot point whether or not this damage can be called autism,
I did NOT imply the Lancet children were autistic due to the mumps component. In fact not all of these children were autistic, and some were diagnosed with this disorder after the paper was published. The Lancet paper in the 'findings' section, mentions (and I quote) 'autism (9),disintegrative psychosis(1),and possible postviral or vaccinal encephalitis (2)' Dr Wakefield left the neurological assessments of the Lancet 12 children to the neurologists. Some of these children had a pre Royal Free diagnosis of autism.
Some of these conditions could well have been caused by the Urabe Mumps MMR vaccine. There has not been enough research to say whether or not Urabe containing, or any other MMR vaccine causes the bowel/neurological syndrome mentioned in the paper, but equally this cannot be ruled out either. Dr Wakefield specifically called for more research into the causes of autism. That research has shamefully never been done. Instead billions of $ and £s were spent on useless genetic and carefully designed epidemiological studies aimed at 'debunking' the Lancet paper hypotheses.
The association between autistic spectrum disorders and bowel disease has now been acknowledged by the medical community and on his website-by Brian Deer!!
Posted by: Jenny Allan | January 26, 2012 at 11:03 AM
"@For John Really? I thought Andrew Wakefield claimed to have found vaccine strain measles in the gut, causing his novel syndrome? Is that not the case then?"
No. He certainly had not found it and didn't claim to have found it in the Lancet paper. They found it later on, although not exclusively in autistic patients. As the Hornig paper noted:
"Our results differ with reports noting MV RNA in ileal biopsies of 75% of ASD vs. 6% of control children ...Discrepancies are unlikely to represent differences in experimental technique because similar primer and probe sequences, cycling conditions and instruments were employed in this and earlier reports; furthermore, one of the three laboratories participating in this study performed the assays described in earlier reports. Other factors to consider include differences in patient age, sex, origin (Europe vs. North America), GI disease, recency of MMR vaccine administration at time of biopsy, and methods for confirming neuropsychiatric status in cases and controls."
This result may have messed up the litigation but also shows the science was real. That Hornig et al concluded that the matter was not worth further study looks entirely unethical. Some of their sick patients had persistent measles virus, and they agreed that in a different set of patients the syndrome was relatively common.
Posted by: For John | January 26, 2012 at 10:47 AM
Such a great point. Why did Deer zero in on Dr. Wakefield and not the Urabe fiasco?
Posted by: Jen | January 26, 2012 at 10:33 AM
Really? I thought Andrew Wakefield claimed to have found vaccine strain measles in the gut, causing his novel syndrome? Is that not the case then?
Posted by: John | January 26, 2012 at 09:56 AM
Bravo Jackie! Jackie Fletcher has bravely tweaked a few fine threads of the hornets nest and the whole 'web of deceit' is now unravelling. The medical establishment have spun an intricate web around the failures in vaccine safety and the Urabe disaster. At the centre of that web sits the biggest of the venomous spiders.* Not for much longer!
* Professor David Salisbury, Director of Immunisation at the Department of Health
Posted by: Mark Struthers | January 26, 2012 at 09:48 AM
"So if the Lancet children were autistic due to the mumps component, as your post implies, then Andrew Wakefield was at least wrong about the measles component, if not actively fraudulent."
Th Lancet paper did not make claims about detecting a measles component and to claim that it did would be a deceit. The issue nevertheless was different from the Urabe problem which was already recognised and which meant the government was already in legal trouble. It certainly does not mean the paper was a fraud, because it identified different potential issues. They would all be equally unpopular with DH and the MCA, or whatever. The basic message is screw the public whatever it is.
Posted by: For John | January 26, 2012 at 09:04 AM
So if the Lancet children were autistic due to the mumps component, as your post implies, then Andrew Wakefield was at least wrong about the measles component, if not actively fraudulent.
Posted by: John | January 26, 2012 at 08:51 AM
The link between the dangerous Urabe Mumps vaccine, 1988-1992, and the Wakefield et al 1998 Lancet paper is quite simple. A number of the Lancet 12 children had already received this version of the MMR vaccine.
Posted by: Jenny Allan | January 26, 2012 at 07:46 AM
"That still doesn't explain what the Mumps issue has to do with Andrew Wakefield's libel case. They are two separate issues."
You don't seem to be paying attention.
Just to add in the case of Pluserix the government or rather the NHS had signed indemnities to the manufacturers because the urabe problem was known, so if the Wakefield case had succeeded it would have been at least in regard to Pluserix the state which woulld have had to pay.
Posted by: For John | January 26, 2012 at 07:42 AM
That still doesn't explain what the Mumps issue has to do with Andrew Wakefield's libel case. They are two separate issues.
Posted by: John | January 26, 2012 at 07:31 AM
A great submission, it’s very hard to try and get across so much info in one letter but you did it.
Thanks John for posting all of her submission as the BMJ clearly failed to do.
If you know your child was injured by any vaccine please click here as you are not alone. www.followingvaccinations.com
Over 1,200 voices and seen by 115 countries worldwide. Please add your voice too
Posted by: Joan Campbell | January 26, 2012 at 06:27 AM
“Dr. Wakefield’s crucifixion is a desperate well-orchestrated effort to restore faith in risky vaccinations that the majority of people worldwide no longer trust” ~Dr. Horowitz.
We noted that in connection with the harassment of Dr Wakefield simultaneous broadcasts from radio stations worldwide announced that his work was fraudulent and they interviewed “experts” who all said that the MMR was safe.
Questions and answers in these interviews were identical, irrespective of where they were broadcast from in the world.
Posted by: Sandy | January 26, 2012 at 06:13 AM
Brilliant Eindeker -AT LAST we seem to have an admission from an anti-Wakefield internet troll that our damaged childrens' long fight for justice and proper medical care is actually justified. Eindeker states:-
"The 1200 parents were, justifiably, looking for redress over the Urabe Mumps vaccine."
Maybe the reasoned and dignified arguments on the AOA site, in contrast to some of the vile, profane and slanderous invective to be found on some of those corporate sponsored pro-vaccine websites, are actually influencing a few of our previous detractors. Welcome aboard!!
Posted by: Jenny Allan | January 26, 2012 at 06:02 AM
Jackie did not conflate anything. Every child who may have suffered damage from a vaccine should have a right to thorough medical investigation and a chance at compensation: one problem was identified prior to the introduction of the vaccine, another was not. A very few children may have had derisory compensation from the state in the UK but there is no effective sanction against manufacturers while Legal Services Commission operates as it does (they couldn't even bring a prosecution against Merck over Vioxx). The state blatantly operates in favour of powerful industrial interests against citizens. And they have sychophantic cheerleaders for their dirty strategy of divide and rule.
Posted by: For John | January 26, 2012 at 05:58 AM
Very well put by Jackie. I was pleased to see the BMJ had actually published Jackie’s response, although it was a pity they chose to edit it - an example of the media censorship here in UK. But that is what this whole dreadful episode has been about – keeping the lid on things. The government was aware of the dangers of MMR especially the one using the URABE mumps strain - but chose to go ahead with it. Perhaps it was assumed that parents would not associate an adverse reaction with the vaccine? But that’s where JABS came in, asking awkward questions, and offering support and information not available through medical channels. It gave parents a voice. The longer the vaccine damage problem is ignored or concealed, the harder it will be for the authorities to admit culpability.
Posted by: Seonaid | January 26, 2012 at 05:58 AM
John Stone says:-
"With Fiona Fox and ben Goldacre around you do not even need D notices."
Yes John, these persons and their organisations, including the Guardian newspaper and the Science Media Centre, presently have a quite ridiculous amount of influence over our UK press and media coverage; but things are changing and the ongoing Murdoch debacle and the Leveson Inquiry will, I am sure, instigate a sea change within our political-press & media-corporate dynamics.
What all these persons are about is suppression of the truth in favour of propaganda and misinformation to be fed to the masses. The latest initiatives involve attempts to suppress internet pressure groups like AoA.
We all have a duty to fight this with whatever means we have at our disposal. THEY ARE LOSING - and they know it!!
Posted by: Jenny Allan | January 26, 2012 at 05:49 AM
As usual your history is confused. A very large proportion of the cases related to bowel disease and autism. Much to Legal Services Commission's frustration the cases not involving autism or bowel disease were re-instated after the judgement of Sir Nigel Davis (who seems to have had some absence over his brother Crispin being a director of GSK and proprietor of the Lancet), however these were not great in number.
Posted by: For Eindeker | January 26, 2012 at 05:41 AM
Please remind me where Andrew Wakefield's study claimed the Mumps component of MMR caused the novel bowel condition. Jackie Fletcher's letter is taking two separate issues - Andrew Wakefield's libel case against Deer and the BMJ, and the well documented problems with the mumps component of MMR, and implying that their is some connection between them. Brian Deer's articles claimed that Andrew Wakefield was fraudulent in investigating the measles component.
Posted by: John | January 26, 2012 at 05:32 AM
Thank you John for pointing out the two issues that Jackie Fletcher conflates in her response. The 1200 parents were, justifiably, looking for redress over the Urabe Mumps vaccine component, this has nothing to do with Wakefield except that he then hijacked/diverted (whatever you want to call it), the legal process to chase his obsession over measles virus/autism & bowel disease, along the way pocketing 435000 pounds and effectively torpedoing the legal action of the parents once it became clear that his measles data would not stand due legal process, any case over the Urabe mumps vaccine was then lost once legal funding was withdrawn. Wakefield has a lot to answer for.
Posted by: Eindeker | January 26, 2012 at 05:28 AM
"Perhaps, but it has nothing to do with Andrew Wakefield's alleged fraud, nor his libel action, nor any of Brian Deer's investigations into his work."
That's what you'd like to think:
Posted by: For John | January 26, 2012 at 05:18 AM
Here are the links to both Jackie's rapid response and the BMJ article about Dr Wakefield sueing them. These days accessing free BMJ articles can be a very convoluted process.
Please note that anyone can make a rapid response; it's an easy procedure, although the BMJ is very selective in what actually gets published.
Please click the 'thumbs up' on Jackie's letter and the 'thumbs down' on those other cloying sycophantic anti Wakefield responses. They are 'getting the message' allright!
Posted by: Jenny Allan | January 26, 2012 at 05:15 AM
Unfortunately, this is bigger than James Murdoch and will go on as long as newspaper editors allow themselves to be intimidated by industry lobbyists and their cronies within government and the state:
With Fiona Fox and ben Goldacre around you do not even need D notices.
Posted by: John Stone | January 26, 2012 at 05:06 AM
Perhaps, but it has nothing to do with Andrew Wakefield's alleged fraud, nor his libel action, nor any of Brian Deer's investigations into his work.
Posted by: John | January 26, 2012 at 05:04 AM
The Urabe MMR vaccine scandal 1988-1992 was all ruthlesslessly and disgracefully suppressed at the time by the UK Government, but of course, the damage it caused could not be contained, including the terrible damage to Robert Fletcher.
At around that time Jackie instigated the vaccine damage support group JABS, which my daughter joined. The Daily Mail was one non Murdoch newspaper prepared to publish a few 'whistleblowing' articles. But that was THEN. It took Jackie 18 years to obtain compensation for Robert, but inflation meant the award, which might have been useful 18 years ago, scarcely covered the costs of essential disability adaptions to their house, now that Robert is a fully grown adult.
In the UK we have what is called the 'twenty year rule' where news items, suppressed by the Government under a system of D-notices, can be finally published. In the case of Urabe MMR vaccine, only two newspaper articles appeared in 2010. Both of these were Scottish editions.
Scandalously, the Government moved in again to 'edit' the Scottish Herald internet copy, which reported the death of Glasgow baby Ryan Mason, who died six days after receiving the MMR vaccine. However, the Government is quite powerless to do anything about the actual newspaper cuttings, which I have in my possession. Basically this scandal is now 'outed' and there is NOTHING that governments and vaccine manufacturers can now do to stop this from being reported!!
James Murdoch is 'yesterday's man' and politicians and news editors know that they cannot now rely on high level protection from persons now more concerned about saving THEIR OWN reputations.
Posted by: Jenny Allan | January 26, 2012 at 04:35 AM
It has everything to do with the prevailing government and medical culture, and the reckless disregard for the safety of children - while pretending something else.
Posted by: For "John" | January 26, 2012 at 04:35 AM
Jackie this is a very powerful letter laying out the facts, that despite herculean efforts by the pharmaceuticals and Brian Deer will not go away. I find it difficult to comprehend that millions of £ and $ have been spent on research worldwide to find a genetic link and so far have come up with nothing. I have lost count of the parents I have spoken to who state "there is no other incidence of autism in our immediate or extended family. My question is why won't they do the studies we have asked for? There is so obviously a sub set of at risk children.
I have seen with my own eyes the deterioration of my son after the MMR vaccine, no one will ever convince me "it is just one of those things". We parents are not going away.
The older damaged children and now starting to reach adulthood, the cost of life-long care is going to be astronomical, at a time when councils are looking at trying to cut budgets for adult services, this is a time bomb waiting to go off. The government need to seriously look at this issue and soon! Mother of a son with Autism.
Posted by: JanP | January 26, 2012 at 04:33 AM
Jake Crosby says:-
'I agree with this letter on everything except Brian Deer's "considerable talents." '
I think you are 'preaching to the converted' here Jake!! But actually, Jackie was rather clever in her wording of this rapid response. Getting this published by the BMJ was a huge achievement, and in fact rather suggests to me that the BMJ editors and governors might be looking for a 'way out' which will involve putting all the blame on Brian Deer and James Murdoch - then director of News Corp and still director of GSK.
This seems to have been confirmed by Deer himself at the conclusion of his recent website tirade against David Lewis, where he bangs on about protecting his own 'integrity'; (that's another laugh!!) I suspect this long involved epistle waas written in defiance of instructions from the BMJ lawyers who will have almost certainly told Deer to 'zip it'!!
Posted by: Jenny Allan | January 26, 2012 at 04:06 AM
I agree with this letter on everything except Brian Deer's "considerable talents." Deer doesn't have an considerable talents, unless "talent" applies to lying, manipulation - even rewriting his own published material to scrub any reference he made to vaccines causing brain damage:
And denying he ever wrote such a thing in a later article defending the vaccine industry, which won him his first "Press Award":
Obviously Deer applied his "considerable talents" to what they were good for, which was not to:
"...hound the committee responsible for introducing a vaccine, brands of which had already been withdrawn in other countries for causing neurological problems...to expose the people responsible for allowing the continued use of MMR vaccines when children were reported to have suffered problems in the opening weeks of the MMR campaign back in 1988...expose the inadequacies of the Government's yellow card scheme which has been ineffective since it began."
Which is ultimately the reason he...
"...chose to investigate the one team of doctors who had raised a flag over the MMR and possible side effects."
Except I wouldn't say "investigated" because Brian Deer did none; his allegations against those doctors were all made up.
Posted by: Jake Crosby | January 26, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Surely this has nothing to do with Andrew Wakefield or the Lancet paper, as that concentrated on the measles component, not mumps?
Posted by: John | January 26, 2012 at 02:42 AM