Feature Secrets of the MMR scare

How the case against the MMR vaccine was fixed

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c5347 (Published 06 January 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:c5347

Re: How the case against the MMR vaccine was fixed

Fiona Godlee fails to cite relevant letters to the BMJ from Andrew Wakefield's co-authors, Susan E Davies [1] and Amar P Dhillon [2], the latter notably in response to recent allegations made by herself, by Brian Deer, and Profs Geboes [3] and Bjarnason [4]. Geboes and Bjarnason have also never responded to Dhillon's letter, which took respectful issue with their claims.

Further confusion relates to remarks made Godlee, Deer and Bjarnason in a Nature report, following David Lewis's accusations in November [5].

'But he [Bjarnason] says that the forms don't clearly support charges that Wakefield deliberately misinterpreted the records. "The data are subjective. It's different to say it's deliberate falsification," he says...Deer notes that he never accused Wakefield of fraud over his interpretation of pathology records...Fiona Godlee, the editor of the BMJ, says that the journal's conclusion of fraud was not based on the pathology but on a number of discrepancies between the children's records and the claims in the Lancet paper...'

But above all it is impossible to see how Wakefield could be singly guilty of fraud when his co-authors apparently stand by the published findings.

[1] http://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/2011/11/02/caution-assessing-histopath...

[2] http://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/2011/11/17/re-pathology-reports-solve-...

[3] Geboes K. Commentary. I see no convincing evidence of "enterocolitis," "colitis," or a "unique disease process." BMJ 2011;343:d6985.

[4] Bjarnason I. Commentary. We came to an overwhelming and uniform opinion that these reports do not show colitis. BMJ 2011;343:d6979.

[5] Eugenie Samuel Reich, Fresh dispute about MMR 'fraud', http://www.nature.com/news/2011/111109/full/479157a.html

Competing interests: I have an autistic son

06 June 2012
John Stone
UK Editor
London N22
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