Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


BMJ invokes new Texan freedom of speech law to fight Wakefield libel case

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 14 March 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2051

Rapid Response:

Re: BMJ invokes new Texan freedom of speech law to fight Wakefield libel case

Despite the persistent claims of editor-in-chief Dr. Fiona Godlee, the BMJ, Brian Deer and their motion to dismiss Dr. Andrew Wakefield's lawsuit, it is obvious from the motion that none of Deer's stories were externally peer reviewed.

The motion claims Part I of Brian Deer's series was "externally reviewed" by Dr. Harvey Marcovitch, an associate editor who cosigned the editorial with Dr. Godlee accusing Dr. Wakefield of fraud. Despite claiming a lack of continued affiliation with the BMJ, Dr. Marcovitch is still listed on the masthead as associate editor. The motion also makes an oxymoronic statement about Dr. Marcovitch's role, having included his "external review" among editorial reviews by the journal.

Which is it? Did Dr. Marcovitch externally review the article or editorially review it? It can't be both ways. Because of such inconsistent and false statements, there is no reason for this motion to succeed.

Competing interests: Diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, Age of Autism Contributing Editor who challenged BMJ editor-in-chief at NIH over validity of Brian Deer's allegations

27 March 2012
Jake Crosby
MPH Student
The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services
2300 Eye Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20037