British ministry condemned for Gulf war response

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 18 November 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1320

The defence ministry in Britain has been “quick to deny but slow to investigate” allegations of a Gulf war syndrome, says a report from the Commons defence committee published last week. The report condemns the ministry for insisting that no evidence for such a syndrome exists when research into the problem has been inadequate.

It criticises the ministry's initial response to the mysterious illnesses experienced by veterans of the Gulf war as “hopelessly inadequate” and claims that it was “unduly reliant on unsuitable statistics in its efforts to down play the significance of the numbers reporting symptoms associated with the syndrome and avoid launching a comprehensive epidemiological study.”

The report says that the response of the US government to its sick veterans has been far more compassionate. It says that the …

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