The BIG Lie II – British Medical Journal Caught Out – Wakefield Fraud Allegations Based On Incorrect Information

We bring you somewhat remarkable information directly from Mr Brian Deer, the freelance journalist who recently published allegations of fraud in the British Medical Journal against Mr Andrew Wakefield. The fraud allegations concern a 1998 paper published in The Lancet medical journal by Mr Wakefield and a 12 strong multidisciplinary team of specialist medical professionals.

The new information shows that:

  • despite Mr Deer not having or using the correct records to justify the claims, he wrote a “peer reviewed” paper in the British Medical Journal which the BMJ reviewers passed and the BMJ published claiming fraud;
  • Mr Deer appears to lack an understanding of basic medical terms like “prospective developmental record” which was fundamental to a main issue in the fraud allegations

But first, something Mr Deer’s “investigative journalism” has not discovered about whether vaccines cause autistic conditions. If you read nothing else we strongly recommend you read this PDF Download:– Text of email from US HRSA to Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News]. In it the US Health Resources Services Administration [HRSA] state to CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson

We have compensated cases in which children exhibited an encephalopathy, or general brain disease. Encephalopathy may be accompanied by a medical progression of an array of symptoms including autistic behavior, autism, or seizures.

Despite all the lies and deceit by health official worldwide, the question was answered when the Hannah Poling story broke in the USA [see CHS article here]. Hannah developed an autistic condition after 9 vaccines administered the same day. Under the media spotlight the question was answered by numerous US health officials and agencies and broadcast on nationwide TV news from CBS and CNN. The answer is “Yes”. Full details with links to the original sources can be found in this CHS article: Vaccination Causes Autism – Say US Government & Merck’s Director of Vaccines. [Blue Text added 10 April 2011]

The British Medical Journal appears in a somewhat difficult position. After failures by Mr Deer to respond to queries about discrepancies in his work the BMJ issued a statement of an unusual kind for a medical scientific journal. This was posted on Mr Deer’s The Guardian Newspaper blog at 18:44 pm last night, Saturday. [see below for quoted full text]

The statement by Deputy Editor Ms Tricia Groves says in effect that Mr Deer’s paper was peer reviewed and if anyone did not like it they should sue the BMJ. This all it seems brings into serious question the standard of publishing in The British Medical Journal and the standards and quality of its “peer review”. It also appears to put to high a value on “peer review”. According to former BMJ Editor Richard Smith interviewed in the BMJ last year:-

Prepublication peer review is faith based not evidence based, and Sudlow’s story shows how it failed badly at Science. Her anecdote joins a mountain of evidence of the failures of peer review: it is slow, expensive, largely a lottery, poor at detecting errors and fraud, anti-innovatory, biased, and prone to abuse. (6 7) As two Cochrane reviews have shown, the upside is hard to demonstrate. (8 9) Yet people like Sudlow who are devotees of evidence persist in belief in peer review. Why?”

Richard Smith: Scrap peer review and beware of “top journals” 22 Mar, 10 | by julietwalker

Mr Deer has surfaced today on Dr David Gorski’s ORAC blog [see more below] having seemingly been hiding away and not answering questions about his paper for a number of days [Wakefield & MMR – Brian Deer Fails To Answer].

This is a follow-up to our story The BIG Lie – Wakefield Lancet Paper Alleged Fraud – Was Not Possible For Anyone To Commit.

Mr Deer claims to have “gone behind” the Lancet paper but has not seen the children’s prospective developmental records. These are fundamental to a main issue covered by the 1998 Royal Free Hospital team’s Lancet paper which he has gone into print on with the British Medical Journal Editors claiming fraud.

And of course that also confirms the use of the Red Books is not recent invention by anyone and that Mr Deer published his paper in the British Medical Journal knowing they existed, that they had been referred to in the GMC proceedings, but that Mr Deer had not seen those records or checked them before going into print.

Its a bit late for that now of course.

The paper was an “early report” to alert other medical professionals to a possible new bowel condition in children. The condition and developmental delays were associated by parents with the administration of the MMR vaccine – the 1998 paper faithfully recorded those concerns but made clear there was no causal association to the MMR vaccine proven and that further work was required.

Mr Deer has been describing himself as a “Sunday Times” journalist. However, the Sunday Times Legal Manager Alaistair Brett has said Mr Deer is not a Sunday Times journalist and that Mr Deer should not describe himself as such.

MR DEER DID NOT KNOW MEDICAL TERMS FUNDAMENTAL TO HIS ALLEGATIONS OF FRAUD

Mr Deer’s recent posts [08:45 am and 12:14 pm London time] show the following:-

  • he does not understand basic medical terminology such as “prospective developmental records”
  • he did not know that the reference to “prospective developmental records” in the 1998 Royal Free Hospital team’s Lancet paper was to records in the Red Book – the book issued to all [nearly all] UK parents for GPs, clinics, nurses and health visitors to record the main developmental milestones of UK children
  • that he had not had seen these at any time – before or after he wrote his recent paper in the British Medical Journal upon which accusations of fraud are based
  • he did not know the Red Books of the UK Lancet children were used as to obtain the developmental histories of these children
  • the Red Books were not in the GMC proceedings [unsurprising as no parents were witnesses other than the one who was called by the prosecution but thought she was giving evidence for the Defendants]
  • the sworn evidence in the GMC hearing confirmed the Red Books were used by The Royal Free team for the prospective developmental records of the children and were relied on for and referred to in the 1998 Lancet paper specifically in that context

BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL CLAMS UP

It is now no surprise why BMJ Deputy Editor Ms Tricia Groves last night posted a defensive comment on Brian Deer’s Guardian newspaper blog [see below for quoted full text]. This followed after a long period of silence from Mr Deer in the face of numerous requests for him to answer basic questions about his recent publications in the British Medical Journal.

Ms Groves said the paper was peer reviewed and if anyone did not like it they should sue the BMJ. That is of course an unacceptable position for any alleged-to-be peer reviewed science journal to take. No reasonable journal invites litigation. This suggests the BMJ is “running scared”. That is hardly surprising if Mr Deer did not know what the Red Book is nor what “prospective developmental records” means.

The whole purpose of publishing is to make a researcher’s work available for public scrutiny and review. Scientific peer review is the process which takes place following publication where a work is exposed to the scrutiny of scientific peers for replication or falsification. as a fundamental feature of the scientific method. The BMJ’s “peer review” is refereeing of manuscripts and not peer review in the scientific sense.

It therefore appears from Ms Groves intervention on Mr Deer’s Guardian blog that the BMJ is not prepared to accept any sound enquiry of Mr Deer’s paper or of the data behind it. That is ironic. Mr Deer claims that he went “behind” a paper for the first time and exposed what he claims are discrepancies. Now he calls for surprise audits of researchers’ work in his Sunday Times commentary last Sunday. And on his blog he claims that the medical establishment acted to prevent him exposing fraud in a Lancet paper published in 1998.

Hmmmm …….

It seems the BMJ might need to bring back their former Editor Richard Smith who wrote little over a year ago:

After 30 years of practicing peer review and 15 years of studying it experimentally, I’m unconvinced of its value. Its downside is much more obvious to me than its upside, and the evidence we have on peer review tends to support that jaundiced view. Yet peer review remains sacred, worshiped by scientists and central to the processes of science — awarding grants, publishing, and dishing out prizes.

In Search Of an Optimal Peer Review System Richard W. Smith Journal of Participatory Medicine Vol. 1, 2009 | October 21, 2009.

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Here is Deputy BMJ Editor Ms Trisha Groves comment last night on Mr Brian Deer’s The Guardian newspaper blog [and yes, she really did write “Brain” – obviously the BMJ think highly of Mr Deer]:-

trished

15 January 2011 8:44PM

Just a few clarifications:

1. Brain Deer’s articles for the BMJ were commissioned and peer reviewed, as stated clearly at the end of each article. For instance see http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.c5347.full which says at the end “Provenance and peer review: Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.”

2. The accompanying editorial was not peer reviewed – and that’s usual practice for in-house editorials.

3. Here is the BMJ policy on libel:

http://resources.bmj.com/bmj/authors/editorial-policies/libel

Competing interest: I’m a deputy editor at the BMJ.