In January 2011, British freelance journalist Brian Deer wrote a series of articles for a pharmaceutical advertising-funded medical trade magazine called the British Medical Journal. Within those pages, Brian Deer’s uneducated, cherry-picked interpretation of the records that supported Dr. Wakefield’s team’s work behind their 1998 Lancet paper regarding the inflammatory bowel disease of 12 autistic children led to Dr. Wakefield being called a fraud.
Fraud: A sham. Someone who is deceitful. A cheater who gained a financial advantage through deception.
Those are fighting words.
He may have been unable to personally fund his 2010 General Medical Council appeal (although his co-author Dr. Walker-Smith’s insurance company did, and won), but in January 2012, Dr. Wakefield filed a libel suit against the BMJ, its editor, and their freelance journalist from his adoptive home state of Texas. The case was immediately dismissed by a judge who is married to a medical lobbyist on the grounds that the court lacked personal jurisdiction over the defendants. His attorneys are working to establish jurisdiction and when they win, the case will proceed to trial.
The impact of the BMJ is not limited to Britain. Their reach is world-wide. Indeed, the damage of the BMJ is felt 4,900 miles away, right here in Texas.
Today consumer advocate Tim Bolen summarized where we stand in Wakefield vs. BMJ. Read all about it here.