Canary Party letter to officials at La Crosse University, WI regarding Brian Deer
Dear Chancellor Gow and Dean Riley,
In light of the following facts, your students were not properly informed by Immunology Professor Bernadette Taylor who stated "There is no debate" at the university's lecture by Brian Deer. We hope you will seriously consider the information below.
1. Regarding Mr. Deer's credibility, even those unfamiliar with the details of the controversy would have to question his claim: “Neither I nor BMJ knew Wakefield was in Texas." (Dr. Wakefield has resided in Texas for 11 years and Mr. Deer has "investigated" and reported on him while he has lived in Texas.)
2. In his letter to the BMJ, National Whistleblower Center board member David Lewis, who examined the "Lancet 12" children's histopathological grading sheets, makes is clear that Wakefield's co-author, pathologist Amar Dhillon, did indeed diagnose colitis "in a number of children" contrary to Mr. Deer's statement at your university that none of the children had bowel disease.
Dr. Lewis: http://www.whistleblowers.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=74&Itemid=76
3. Brian Deer stated at your university that Dr. Peter Fletcher was never Chief Scientific Officer of the UK Department of Health. This statement is easily proven false:
Deer misrepresented the UK's former Chief Scientific Officer, no doubt due to Dr. Fletcher's criticisms of the MMR: "There are very powerful people in positions of great authority in Britain and elsewhere who have staked their reputations and careers on the safety of MMR and they are willing to do almost anything to protect themselves."
4. Wakefield's co-author in the Lancet Paper, Dr. John Walker Smith, was recently exonerated and had his license to practice medicine restored, showing that Deer's allegations against Wakefield and Walker Smith, which were rubber stamped by the General Medical Council, had no foundation. http://www.ageofautism.com/2012/03/professor-john-walker-smith-exonerated-in-autism-mmr-case.html
5. Brian Deer's attacks against Wakefield began when his Sunday Times Editor, Paul Nuki, told him "Find something big" on the "MMR" as Deer himself revealed here: http://www.bmj.com/content/340/bmj.c672
Paul Nuki had a DIRECT FAMILY TIE to a government employee responsible for MMR safety. Paul Nuki is the son of Professor George Nuki who sat on the Committee on Safety in Medicines when it passed Pluserix MMR vaccine as safe for use in 1987.
6. In February 2009, Sunday Times proprietor James Murdoch was appointed to the board of MMR manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline with a brief to “help to review external issues that might have the potential for serious impact upon the group's business and reputation"” This was swiftly followed by new attacks on Andrew Wakefield’s reputation by Deer and other Times Newspaper journalists.
7. Mr. Deer failed to disclose that he was privately the author of at least three complaints to the General Medical Council that later took away Wakefield's license. Violating journalistic ethics, Deer had created the very news that he later covered. (GMC created a letter a year later stating Deer was not listed as the complainant.)
8. Mr. Deer also failed to disclose that there were no complaints against Wakefield by the children's families, most of whom very strongly support him, and many of whom credit his team with a diagnosis that led to effective treatment of their children's bowel disease.
9. The Lancet withdrew the Wakefield paper seven months after the Lancet's owner, Sir Crispin Davis, became a non-executive director of MMR manufacturer Glaxo SmithKline. His brother, Nigel Davis, was the high court judge who presided over the secret hearing to remove funding from MMR litigation. Nigel Davis then issued a statement (referring to himself in the third person): "the possibility of any conflict of interest arising from his brother's position did not occur to him."
10. The chairman of the GMC panel that struck Wakefield off the medical register, Surendra Kumar, failed to disclose that he owned shares in MMR manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline,
11. Mr. Deer's opening slide at the La Crosse talk, clearly intended to refer to Wakefield, speaks volumes about Deer’s lack of neutrality: “If he wasn’t so fucking greedy, he’d a been tougher to spot.”
(The only money Wakefield earned as an expert witness was donated, by him, to the Royal Free Hospital. This is well documented.)
12. Among the more egregious of his many false statements at La Crosse was Mr. Deer's claim that Dr. Wakefield "called on parents to boycott the MMR vaccine." He in fact recommended parents request the single measles, mumps and rubella shots that were available at that time in the UK, rather than the combination shot.
Please take these facts into consideration, and consider allowing your students to learn the truth about Andrew Wakefield's work and the influence of pharmaceutical interests on medical research and policy. As in most complex issues, there are two sides to this story and your students have only heard one.
Jennifer VanDerHorst - Larson
Founder, The Canary Party