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John Stone

United Kingdom
169 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2006 :  02:45:39,,2087-2524335,00.html

Let's take Andy Wakefield out of this for a second and ask how you could have such a prosecution without expert fees? If you cannot prosecute large companies then they are in principal, as well as practice above the law. These are, I think, quite moderate professional fees.

The Sunday Times December 31, 2006

MMR doctor given legal aid thousands

Brian Deer

ANDREW WAKEFIELD, the former surgeon whose campaign linking the MMR vaccine with autism caused a collapse in immunisation rates, was paid more than £400,000 by lawyers trying to prove that the vaccine was unsafe.

The payments, unearthed by The Sunday Times, were part of £3.4m distributed from the legal aid fund to doctors and scientists who had been recruited to support a now failed lawsuit against vaccine manufacturers.

Critics this weekend voiced amazement at the sums, which they said created a clear conflict of interest and were the “financial engine” behind a worldwide alarm over the triple measles, mumps and rubella shot.

“These figures are astonishing,” said Dr Evan Harris, Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon.

“This lawsuit was an industry, and an industry peddling what turned out to be a myth.”

According to the figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, Wakefield was paid £435,643 in fees, plus £3,910 expenses.

Wakefield’s work for the lawyers began two years before he published his now notorious report in The Lancet medical journal in February 1998, proposing a link between the vaccine and autism.

This suggestion, followed by a campaign led by Wakefield, caused immunisation rates to slump from 92% to 78.9%, although they have since partly recovered. In March this year the first British child in 14 years died from measles.

Later The Lancet retracted Wakefield’s claim and apologised after a Sunday Times investigation showed that his research had been backed with £55,000 from lawyers, and that the children in the study used as evidence against the vaccine were also claimants in the lawsuit.

At the time Wakefield denied any conflict of interest and said that the money went to his hospital, not to him personally. No disclosure was made, however, of the vastly greater sums that he was receiving directly from the lawyers.

The bulk of the amount in the new figures, released by the Legal Services Commission (LSC), covers an eight to 10-year period. All payments had to be approved by the courts.

Those who received money include numerous Wakefield associates, business partners and employees who had acted as experts in the case.

Five of his former colleagues at the Royal Free hospital, north London, under whose aegis The Lancet paper was written, received a total of £183,000 in fees, according to the LSC.

Wakefield now runs a business in Austin, Texas, two of whose employees are listed as receiving a total of £112,000 in fees, while a Florida physician, who appointed the former surgeon as his “director of research”, was paid £21,600, the figures show.

All have appeared in media reports as apparently confirming Wakefield’s claims.

It is understood that the payments — for writing reports, attending meetings and in some cases carrying out research — were made at hourly rates varying between £120 and £200, or £1,000 a day.

“There was a huge conflict of interest,” said Dr John March, an animal vaccine specialist who was among those recruited. “It bothered me quite a lot because I thought, well, if I’m getting paid for doing this, then surely it’s in my interest to keep it going as long as possible.”

March, who the LSC allowed almost £90,000 to research an aspect of Wakefield’s theories, broke ranks this weekend to denounce both the science of the attack and the amount that the case had cost in lawyers’ and experts’ fees.

“The ironic thing is they were always going on about how, you know, how we’ve hardly got any money compared with the other side, who are funded by large pharmaceutical companies. And I’m thinking, judging by the amounts of money you’re paying out, the other side must be living like millionaires,” he said.

Also among those named as being paid from the legal aid fund was a referee for one of Wakefield’s papers, who was allowed £40,000. A private GP who runs a single vaccines clinic received £6,000, the LSC says.

Following The Sunday Times investigation, immunisation rates have risen and the General Medical Council launched an inquiry. This is due to culminate in a three-month hearing next summer, where Wakefield faces charges — which he denies — of dishonesty over his research.

The LSC is also unlikely to escape criticism. Three years ago the commission, which administers a £2 billion budget to give poor people access to justice, acknowledged that the attempt to make a case against MMR with taxpayers’ money was “not effective or appropriate”.

The total cost for the attack on the vaccine was £14,053,856, plus Vat.

Following media campaigning, lawyers eventually registered 1,600 claimants in the lawsuit. None received any money.

This weekend Earl Howe, a Conservative party health spokesman, called for a parliamentary inquiry. “It’s astonishing,” he said. “This is crying out for select committee scrutiny.”

Wakefield said in a statement that he had worked on the lawsuit for nine years, charged at a recommended rate, and gave money to charity.

“This work involved nights, weekends and much of my holidays, such that I saw little of my family during this time,” he said. “I believed and still believe in the just cause of the matter under investigation.”

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Edited by - John Stone on 12/31/2006 02:47:36

58 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2006 :  04:30:19

Is there anywhere where anyone can respond to that article?

John Stone

United Kingdom
169 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2006 :  09:29:26
No, Andy circulated a statement a week ago which of course the Sunday Times have not reported in any respect:

"Sunday December 24th 2006

"Response by Dr Andy Wakefield to enquiries about expert fees.
Thank you for your enquiry. I hope that the points below will answer any questions you may have about the issue of experts#146; fees in the MMR litigation.

"1. I worked as an expert in the MMR class action litigation for nearly 9 years. As instructed, I charged for my services and this was at an hourly rate recommended by the BMA after consulting with them on this matter.

"2. I worked extremely hard on this very onerous litigation because I believed and still believe in the just cause of the matter under investigation. This work involved nights, weekends and much of my holidays such that I saw little of my family during this time. The price for standing by these children has been high both for my family and my professional status.

"3. The money that I received was, after tax and out of pocket expenses, donated to an initiative to create a new center, in the first instance at the Royal Free Hospital, for the care of autistic children and those with bowel disease. This intention was made clear, in writing, to senior members of the medical school. The initiative was unsuccessful at the Royal Free but ultimately succeeded in the US.

"4. My role as an expert was declared as a conflict of interest in relevant publications (see references below) that discussed the possible role of MMR vaccine intestinal disease and autism and to journal editors in other instances. I have referenced the relevant publications below for your convenience.

"5. The costs judge has revised the sum payable by nearly #8356;100,000 and I am happy to abide by this ruling. He has done the same for other experts and I am informed that this is common practice in cases such as this. A substantial part of this money was not paid to me in the first place.

"6. My actions were at times taken in the best interests of children potentially damaged by the MMR vaccine. It was my earnest desire to establish a centre of excellence for the care of these children in the UK. Sadly, the political climate in there made this impossible. I remain dedicated to helping these children and resolving the issue of whether vaccines are involved in this disorder or not. I will not be intimidated or coerced into stopping this work prematurely.


Stott C et al Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons 2004;9:89-91
Wakefield AJ et al. Medical Veritas 2006;3:796-802"


97 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2006 :  20:44:30      
And how much are the others paid (GPs, senior members of DoH, pharmaceutical directors)? I'm fairly confident that their basic pay - let alone additional fees for advisory/consultancy purposes - run into six figures. No doubt Brian Deer's basic salary is well into 6 figures. Typical hypocrisy from that lot - but I have learnt to expect nothing less. Happy New Year from a worn out person.

United Kingdom
97 Posts

Posted - 01/01/2007 :  14:56:24      
My plan of action is
1.Don’t buy The Times as this is the only paper in the planet that will print Deers unhealthy interest in Dr Wakefield.

2. Don’t vote Liberal Democrats as in dr Evan Harris if this is what the party stands for I wouldn’t want any involvement with them (I have complained to the Party Chairman in the past ,concerning his duplicity but no response)

When we get them in court, which is meant to happen 2007 -2008 Waters Kruas in America are the leading law firm Autism/Mercury cases.This pathetic dribble from Deer and the few others in the UK with this unhealthy interest in Dr Wakefield will stop. We were told last week by the chairman of Waters Kraus, Andrew C Waters, that Waters Kraus are not taking on any more cases as they have that much evidence stacked against big pharma it could go round the world twice, just the time it takes getting them into court, and this will happen with a result 2007 -2008.

Nobody getting tired bring it on Deer...

Maybe someone should investigate whether Mr. Deer is being paid privately to continue to write these PR pieces for the vaccine manufacturers.

It certainly happened in America when journalists were found to be accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars to pretend to agree with certain political views.

Is there no real investigative journalist that reads this site, BIG ENOUGH!to look into this on behalf of the civil rights of these children???I know there are several but who is BIG ENOUGH!!!C mon !!what a piece of fact just waiting to be told!!The paper will be selling for the next 50 years.


Edited by - GUS THE FUSS on 01/01/2007 22:29:18