Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Review of the Week

Trust me, I’m a scientist

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b3658 (Published 09 September 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3658

Still off-topic

Sam Lewis

I'd go along happily with the "MMR debacle". The word "hoax" perhaps isn't ideal, but of course I was quoting Goldacre's excellent account of the debacle.

I agree too that anything that causes mistrust must be addressed. And of course the innocent mum who has been misled by some air-headed celebrity should no be ridiculed (though perhaps the celebrity should be).

Of course you are right that "Measles, Mumps and Rubella damage too many children, and too many reasonable parents do not trust us." And of course one must "perform the appropriate science". I do think though, despite the implausibility of Wakefield's work even at the time, it was taken seriously and the necessary work was done (short of RCTs which. I'd imagine, would be impossible to arrange).

Most of the people who have commented are against all sorts of vaccination and they endanger their children and other people's children. Noel Bell Thomas tries to divert attention from this by restricting himself to swine flu, but of course that isn't a big danger (at the moment). Measles, mumps, mubella, polio and diphtheria are.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

23 September 2009
David Colquhoun
Research professor
UCL WC1E 6BT