Rumors abound (at 35 mins) that Brian Deer has an agent trying to sell the film rights of a book in Hollywood in which he portrays himself as the victim of the Wakefield affair. Just possibly he is: used by the British establishment to do their dirty work, protected as he was allowed to riffle through the confidential medical and legal documents of children which he did not have the remotest competence to understand or interpret. The end of this unsavoury episode should have come in March 2012 when a High Court judge completely exonerated the senior author and clinician of the Wakefield Lancet paper, Prof John Walker-Smith, having failed to find any evidence for the allegations which Deer had secretly laid before the United Kingdom General Medical Council (GMC) eight years before. Deer had deliberately or inadvertently manufactured the claim that the paper was based on the research protocol for a study commissioned by the United Kingdom Legal Aid Board. Deer alleged:
Application was made to the ethical practices committee of the Royal Free Hospital by Mr Wakefield, Professor Walker-Smith and Dr Murch, and was approved by the committee on November 13 1996. The reference is 172-96. The research is described as “A new paediatric syndrome, enteritis and disintegrative disorder following measles/rubella vaccination”…
Its conclusion that Professor Walker-Smith was guilty of serious professional misconduct in relation to the Lancet children was in part founded upon its conclusion that the investigations into them were carried out pursuant to Project 172-96. The only explanation given for that conclusion is that it was reached "in the light of all the available evidence". On any view, that was an inadequate explanation of the finding. As it may also have been reached upon the basis of two fundamental errors – that Professor Walker-Smith's intention was irrelevant and that it was not necessary to determine whether he had lied to the Ethics Committee, it is a determination which cannot stand unless it is justified by the detailed findings made in relation to the eleven relevant Lancet children.
Judge Mitting's decision was unopposed by the GMC. After the longest and most expensive hearing in history the entire central premise was found to be false. This should also have squashed the further allegations alleging fraud against Wakefield and colleagues made by Deer and the British Medical Journal. The paper was simply an early report of cases seen and treated on the basis of clinical need as stated. There was no evidence to support irregularities. None of this should ever have happened.
A detailed account of the issues by Vera Sharav can be found at AHRP