Intended for healthcare professionals

Reviews Book

MMR: Science and Fiction. Exploring the Vaccine Crisis; MMR and Autism: What Parents Need to Know

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.329.7473.1049 (Published 28 October 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:1049

"The confusion": Richard Horton - a remarkably frank passage

Confusion:

"Indeed, the GMC seemed non-plussed by Reid's [John Reid, the Health
Secretary] intervention. The best their spokeswoman could say was: 'We are
concerned by these allegations and will be looking at what action, if any,
may be necessary.' In truth, they had not a clue where to begin. At a
dinner I attended on 23 February [the day after Brian Deer's Sunday Times
article], one medical regulator and I discussed the Wakefield case. He
seemed unsure of how the Council could play a useful part in resolving the
confusion." (Horton p.7)

However:

"As we talked over coffee while the other dinner guests were
departing, he scribbled down some possible lines of investigation, and
passed me his card, suggesting that I contact him directly if anything
sprang to mind. He seemed keen to pursue Wakefield, especially given
ministerial interest. Here, was professionally led regulation of doctors
in action - notes exchanged over liqueurs in a beautifully pannelled room
of one of medicine's most venerable institutions [Horton does not say
which]." (Horton p.7-8)

Can anyone say whether this is a proper way to conduct science,
justice, or government?

Competing interests:
Parent of an autistic child

Competing interests: No competing interests

02 November 2004
John Stone
none
London N22