The British Medical  Association (BMA)

An Elaborate Fraud, Part 4: News Analysis -- The British Medical Association Is “Standing Up for Doctors” Even If It Means Attacking Patients

By Mark Blaxill

If you go to the web-site of the British Medical Association you will find the BMA’s tag line prominently displayed: “Standing up for doctors.” It’s a position most notable for what they do not stand up for: not patients, not science, not health, just the doctors who join the association. The home page elaborates what this means more directly, “We are … an independent trade union dedicated to protecting individual members and the collective interests of doctors.”

In other words, The BMA is an unabashed economic entity: a trade union. And its primary purpose is to defend the money and power of its members. It’s that simple. Who does the BMA stand against? The adversary of the day might vary a bit. But on a day to day basis, the biggest conflicts British doctors face are with patients. When patients comply with what doctors tell them to do and generate income for them, they are useful to the BMA. When they want to take control of their own families’ health, or worse, suggest that member doctors may have caused harm, well that’s a different matter. When patients' interests conflict with “standing up for doctors,” It’s pretty clear what the BMA’s job is.

The BMA attacks critical patients as if they were their enemy.

One of its instruments for defending doctors’ interests is “science,” or more accurately, propaganda masquerading as science. Notably, the BMA publishes the British Medical Journal, the journal that earlier this year disseminated Brian Deer’s accusations of fraud against Andrew Wakefield. Despite Wakefield’s lengthy and Byzantine trial on allegations surrounding his medical ethics and research design in front of the General Medical Council (GMC), allegations of scientific fraud were not part of the GMC proceedings. Until January 2011, freelance reporter Brian Deer, and Deer alone, had accused Wakefield of lying about data and falsifying evidence. That is, until the BMJ entered the mix, effectively certifying the validity of Deer’s 2009 accusations in The Sunday Times with a dramatic flourish that proved even more devastating to Wakefield’s reputation than the GMC trial. How devastating were these accusations? In a press release, BMJ editor Fiona Godlee claimed to be “struck by a comparison between researcher Andrew Wakefield’s fraud and Piltdown man, that great paleontological hoax that led people to believe for 40 years that the missing link between man and ape had been found.” Sadly, these extravagant allegations were picked up by the global media, spread like wildfire, and, despite their manifest implausibility, the charges stuck.

For any doctor or scientist who might ever have been inclined to support a critical patient the message was clear: when the BMA and its flagship journal the BMJ go after you, they will be ruthless.

Lost in the frenzy over Wakefield’s alleged scientific fraud, however, is the fact that the origin of the evidence in the 1998 Lancet article never came from Wakefield.  Rather, the Royal Free Hospital's investigation (which included many others beyond Wakefield) was launched based on the collection and reporting of observations originally made by parents. These parental observations included varying forms of regressive autism or encephalitis, inflammatory bowel disease and a temporal association between exposure to the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR) and the onset of symptoms. As time has passed (and in every one of the cases reported in The Lancet paper), the parents’ continuing reports support Wakefield’s original account. In addition, many thousands of parents have subsequently reported an identical sequence of events. At kitchen tables all over the world, the MMR has become known as “the autism shot.” The heart of the matter, therefore, is the tension between the British medical establishment on one hand and the Lancet parents on the other.

So in accusing Wakefield, the BMJ is really doing something else; they are accusing the Lancet parents of committing an elaborate fraud.

Why would the BMJ condone such an aggressive attack? Sadly again, in publishing Deer’s accusations, the house organ of the BMA was advancing the interest neither of science nor the truth. Instead, they were “standing up for doctors”: for the income doctors gain from frequent visits to the doctor to receive vaccination; for doctors’ freedom to avoid costly minutes with skeptical parents during their well-child visits; and for the power of doctors to force parents to comply with the recommended vaccination schedule.

As for Deer’s reporting, while Wakefield provided the proximate target, not far under the surface lurked an aggressive attack on parents who have the temerity to question the mandates of the BMA and public health officials. It’s quite a ruthless attack: Parents who question vaccine safety are a danger to the public health; Parents who allege vaccine injury are liars; Parents who take offense to intimidation and coercion are anti-vaccine campaigners; Parents who seek resources to support a vaccine-injured child are cheating the system to get rich.

This kind of attack is not delicate work. But in making the decision to tie its reputation to Deer’s, the BMA made a risky choice.

One need not look very far to find evidence of Deer’s boorishness. It’s most plainly exemplified by his unvarnished contempt for noncompliant parents. One widely circulated example was provoked following on-line challenges to Deer’s reporting by three autism parents: Lancet 12 mother Isabella Thomas, Age of Autism Contributing Editor John Stone and a third unnamed blogger. Jumping into the fray in a Pharma-friendly blog, Deer had this to say about the critical parents (see HERE)

And they wonder why their children have problems with their brains.

Apparently not content with just this brief insult, Deer elaborated further (see HERE )

I genuinely think that the three individuals I was criticising – and I know who all three of them are – do need to question whether their personal behavioural issues are indicative of a better explanation for their children’s issues. Certainly a lot better explanation than MMR.

The festering nastiness, the creepy repetitiveness, the weasly, deceitful, obsessiveness, all signal pathology to me

Deer has reserved special antipathy for Isabella Thomas, the mother of two of the twelve Lancet cases. Mrs. Thomas has most publicly opposed Deer, so his public comments about her plainly demonstrate his bias: Deer’s presumption that in a dispute between BMA members and unsatisfied parents, the parents are always guilty and the doctors are always right. (see HERE)

There was the case of one mother, for instance, whose story is now in the public domain and entirely reportable, who had two children. Her GP gave evidence that he believed she obsessively sought unnecessary treatment for the children, to their detriment. He said he felt she was harming their interests. She fell out with her local hospital, and with a previous GP, who were not convinced by her...

There is a reckoning coming, I think. Skulking behind medical confidentiality, legal privilege and hapless kids won’t do it forever. There is a public interest here, and that, I think, will eventually prevail.

Deer’s thinly veiled threats aren’t limited to Isabella Thomas. He has also criticized Lancet 12 parent Rosemary Kessick, another parent who has criticized Deer’s methods and refused to back down. Deer’s interactions with Kessick included an outright lie about his identity, an interaction my Age of Autism colleague Dan Olmsted described last week (see An Elaborate Fraud, Part 2: In Which a Murdoch Newspaper’s Deceptive Tactics Infect the British Medical Journal ). The ultimate intent of Deer’s narrative was to accuse Kessick of lying (see  HERE).

 I interviewed Mrs Rosemary Kessick… and, in four hours of recorded material, found her account of events surrounding her son's vaccination and history to be unsatisfactory. It is my belief that a great deal of material placed before the public is also of a misleading nature.

In these and other intemperate statements, Brian Deer remains unrepentant, and as long as the medical industry protects him against the consequences of his actions, he feels secure, even triumphant, in his position. Our series “An Elaborate Fraud” began last week and will continue to demonstrate that it is Deer’s account of events that is the only unsatisfactory and misleading material being placed before the public.

But as far as the BMA goes, it should be concerned about something more threatening to its long term mission of representing doctors: guilt by association with Brian Deer and his unethical methods. As we’re beginning to learn, Deer’s work was deeply enmeshed with the “anything goes,” “the ends justifies the means” culture of News International, Rupert Murdoch’s criminally corrupt British newspaper empire. As the News International saga unfolds, many more people of conscience will begin to ask the question, what did the BMA condone in their assault on patients who didn’t pay proper fealty to the sovereignty of British doctors and who needed to stand down?

There are signs that the BMA is already concerned over its accountability for the Wakefield Inquisition. A few months ago, Age of Autism’s John Stone was successful in extracting an admission of conflict of interest from the BMA. This concession was made grudgingly in an essay titled, “In response to John Stone” by BMJ editor Fiona Godlee. Godlee wrote (BMJ Content)

“we should have declared the BMJ Group's income from Merck as a competing interest to the editorial (and the two editor's choice articles) that accompanied Brian Deer's [MMR] series... We should also, as you say, have declared the group's income from GSK as a competing interest in relation to these articles....We didn't declare these competing interests because it didn't occur to us to do so.”

The formal (but as John Stone points out, merely partial) concession followed (see  Age of Autism: Farce at British Medical Journal as Double Standards Persist Over Undeclared Competing Interest)

“The BMJ should have declared competing interests in relation to this editorial by Fiona Godlee and colleagues...The BMJ Group receives advertising and sponsorship revenue from vaccine manufacturers, and specifically from Merck and GSK, which both manufacture MMR vaccines.”

In most businesses, service providers understand that going to war with their customers rarely ends well. So far, the medical industry and its partners in the public health bureaucracies have managed to sell the media the line that the controversies in autism pit “parents vs. science.” Sadly, true science is the casualty in this narrative, one in which the real battle is defined by economic and political difference between doctors and their powerful trade associations on one hand and critical, determined parents on the other. And the BMA is revealing itself as part of a long line of economically interested parties—from tobacco companies to the leaded gasoline industry—that put their own bottom line ahead of the health of children.

We’ll have more on Deer and his sponsors at the British Medical Association in the days and weeks ahead.


Mark Blaxill is Editor-at-Large of Age of Autism. He is the co-author, with Dan Olmsted, of The Age of Autism – Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-made Epidemic, to be published in paperback in September by Thomas Dunne Books.




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Media scholar-I'm not quite sure what your reference to Reagan is supposed to mean

I would like to see the "12" write their own story. Possibly titled..."The Truth Will Set You Free: The Real Story Behind The Andrew Wakefield Study." Brian Deer you will get yours in the end. What goes around comes around.
I don't know how many of these cold-war categories apply.
All of them.

The London Times wire tapped GSK, too. Right? They have all the E-mails between Brian Deer and all of his secret friends Right?

Without those this is a duel with a single pistol. Um, that's an execution.


I've wondered this too. Where is the curiosity of the major networks over the skyrocketing autism rates? I'm perplexed as to why people I know, even in my own family, seem reluctant to discuss the autism crisis. A wall goes up. Like they are scared, or feel it's a taboo topic.

Call me crazy but I think the public is being systematically brainwashed to stay silent. Perhaps through the media (drug ads?). Even music videos. Lady Gaga videos which are widely viewed are particularly strange to me. Strange imagery, lots of occult symbolism. Like some cryptic mind control going on. Very sinister.

Are we part of some kind of massive psych op? Does anyone else feel this way? Is the autism crisis part of a master plan to weaken our democracy with the goal of total control over the population?

Disrupt- the 9-11 attack
Disable- autism, cancer, other health issues to weaken
Destroy- our democracy

I see every day we are losing more and more of our freedom. It's a very scary time.

Media scholar-I'm not quite sure what your reference to Reagan is supposed to mean...I hope you are not casting him as a defender of the people's rights. He has done more to undermine the rights of the average citizen in this country than anyone. Besides, vaccination poisoning is not a left-right issue. Both sides of the political spectrum are implicated in this travesty, which is a direct result of the corruption of government officials by powerful corporations, individuals and groups that are controlling our world. It is an issue of the people against the ruling class, and at the present time the people are losing. The balance of power needs to be upset. People need to wake up. Until then, we can expect more of the same.
I am truly looking forward to the date when we stop "shooting the messenger" and advocating to "now what?" Hopefully this is followed by listening to the parents, examining and treating the children based on their needs.

Thank you Mark for continuing to push for that dialog and actually productive movements forward. Not a minute more should be wasted.

What is clear to me, especially after last Jan when news outlets went into a Wakefield feeding frenzy, is the fact that no one wants to know what really happened to these children. No one wants to honestly investigate this. CNN turned their coverage over to Brian Deer and let him accuse Wakefield of every kind of fraud. But what was most noticeable to me was the failure of the major networks and newspapers to talk to a single parent. Why didn’t even one of them get to tell their story? After all, wasn’t this whole thing about the patients he wrote about in the Lancet? Why weren’t they covered?
How much more obvious can it be that this is a desperate cover up? Right now in the media there are calls for stricter scrutiny when it comes to what gets published as “peer-reviewed.” See BCC story. And what example does the BBC cite as bad science that got out? –Andrew Wakefield in the Lancet. This sends a strong message to journals that what they publish can’t spark controversy.
In truth, this is more about self-protection than it is about science.
In Callous Disregard, Dr. Wakefield made the comment, “The evidence revealed collusion at the highest levels of the medical establishment.” (p. 49)
Self-protection is a powerful motivation and this is made clear in his book. “[I]t was the UK government that was (and presumably still is) liable for SKB’s MMR vaccine damage.” (p. 74)
Let’s stop pretending that officials don’t have compelling reasons to want this controversy ended. Former Chief Scientific Officer in UK, Peter Fletcher, said exactly that in 2006 in the Daily Mail.
Fletcher: “If it is proven that the jab causes autism, ‘the refusal by governments to evaluate the risks properly will make this one of the greatest scandals in medical history.

‘But it is the steady accumulation of evidence, from a number of respected universities, teaching hospitals and laboratories around the world, that matters here. There's far too much to ignore. Yet government health authorities are, it seems, more than happy to do so.

‘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.’"

Anne Dachel, Media

The Daily Prophet (London Times, BMJ, Tribune) reports that Ministry Officials (PHS, HHS, AAP, GMC, GSK, MERCK) vociferously deny any possibility that Voldemort (Vaccines) has returned and is hurting people (could cause bowel disease, autism or other ill health). Anyone who says so, like Harry Potter and his friends, or Dumbledore (parents, DAN docs, Wakefield, et al) is a liar and should be removed from their posts and thrown into Azkaban.

Even my 8 year old understands this stuff. I think most people do. Waiting for the day Deer defends himself by claiming he was under the Imperius curse. Wormtail, indeed.

Medical trade unions foster the illusion of being patient friendly, when in reality they exist to protect the financial interests of their dues-paying members.

Consumers must band together to demand recourse from sellers and promoters of legalized toxins, to prevent health damage from continuing. Join the Canary Party!

I just finished reading _Let Them Eat Prozac_ by Dr. David Healy, once a favorite of the pharmaceutical industry. Great book. Lots of inside baseball. I'll let you research it yourself. I just checked out his website, , and found something under "Academic Stalking" that sounds especially familiar:

"In my case, after the issue of the University of Toronto breaching my contract became public in 2001, the media contacted both the university and me. The university directed reporters to J. Coyne, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania. The reports that I have from journalists who contacted Dr. Coyne indicate they found his responses off-putting and did not use them. Coyne wrote instead to the Globe and Mail, the British Medical Journal and elsewhere, voicing his concerns that Healy’s research was flawed and the only surprise about the Healy case was that anyone had seen fit to hire him in the first instance.

As it transpired, unbeknownst to me, Coyne had been contributing to a psychology listserv for some time before this. The tone of these communications across a range of issues and people is abusive. The authoritative note when it comes to issues to do with me is surprising given that Coyne has never contacted me for clarification of anything. The bombardment has continued over 6 years, suggesting a certain obsessive preoccupation - or academic stalking. Until recently, I regarded this stalking as a minor irritation.

In 2004, however, the stakes became higher. In February 2004, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) convened a panel to consider the question of suicidality on antidepressants in trials conducted in children. In a first official recognition of this problem, the panel concluded there were grounds for concern. A further hearing was scheduled in September 2004. Prior to the September hearing, Pfizer made a submission to the FDA web site. This was a 50-page “billet doux” full of sweeping accusations about Healy that bore considerable resemblances to the points made by Coyne.

FDA refused to post a response from me. This response was later posted on the Alliance for Human Research Protection (AHRP) web site and appeared as an article in Ethical Human Sciences.

In January 2005, Britain brought in a Freedom of Information Act. I applied to Lilly, Pfizer and GSK to get material they held on me and got 116 pieces of information from Lilly. These suggest that the company put people in audiences when I am presenting, consider legal action against me on the basis of reports that appear in the media, prefer not to fund events in which I am a participant, and have worked out standard responses to Healy issues including dismissing what I do as motivated by involvement as an expert witness in legal actions....

In March 2006, I received a letter from the General Medical Council (GMC), the body with whom all British physicians have to register in order to practice. This is a body that has the powers to strike a physician off. It was a letter of complaint. The letter from the GMC to me contained a letter to the GMC by David Nutt, a professor of psychiatry and psychopharmacology in Bristol, in which Nutt refers to details in the Coyne article as the grounds for a possible complaint...."