Monday, January 9, 2012

Whistleblower Scientist Dr. Lewis Accuses British Medical Journal of Institutional Research Misconduct

Posted by Age of Autism at January 09, 2012: Actions of BMJ Editor and Reporter “More Tabloid News than Science” According to Dr. David Lewis, and “a Genuine Threat to Public Health”

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 9, 2012 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) -- Dr. David Lewis, internationally known whistleblower and respected expert on institutional fraud, released a report today calling for a formal investigation into the practices of the British Medical Journal (BMJ), and specifically into the actions of its editor, Dr. Fiona Godlee, and Brian Deer, a reporter she hired to write a series of articles which appeared in the journal beginning on January 4, 2011.

The BMJ articles accuse Dr. Andrew Wakefield of committing scientific fraud in a 1998 Lancet publication he co-authored that brought global attention to a link many parents and physicians suspect may exist between autism and children who are genetically predisposed to adverse reactions from the Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) vaccine.

The BMJ, Deer, and Godlee alleged that Wakefield fabricated a diagnosis of colitis in most of the 12 children described in The Lancet article — calling Wakefield’s work an "elaborate fraud" intended to create an "MMR scare" — so Wakefield could profit from a patent related to his research.

“Documents recovered from Dr. Wakefield's files during my investigation at the National Whistleblowers Center (NWC) - - reveal that a pathologist associated with the study, Dr. Andrew Anthony, interpreted a number of the children's biopsies as evidence of colitis,” explained Dr. Lewis. “Altogether, the evidence contained in Wakefield's files suggested to me that the BMJ's fraud theory was more tabloid news than science.”

According to documents Lewis filed with Sir John Tooke, Vice-Provost for Health at the University College London (UCL) where The Lancet study was done, BMJ Editor Godlee responded to the Lewis revelations by “cherry-picking the evidence and coming up with a grand conspiracy theory involving ‘institutional research misconduct’. Alleged fraudsters now include University College London (UCL) administrators, the Royal Free Hospital, and all 13 co-authors of the Lancet study.”

UCL President Malcolm Grant notified Lewis that, because his charges were “so serious,” he urged Dr. Lewis to inform Dr. Godlee and Deer “at the earliest opportunity.”

Lewis also reports that Godlee has previously acknowledged the BMJ Group receives funding from the two manufacturers of the MMR vaccine, Merck and GlaxoSmithKline, and has testified in a Parliamentary inquiry that peer-reviewed medical journals are “the marketing arm of the pharmaceutical industry.” Lewis added: “Apparently scientists who question certain government policies and industry practices can be destroyed for a price. If so, this kind of tabloid science poses a genuine threat to public health.”

On January 3, 2012, Dr. Wakefield filed suit against the BMJ and Brian Deer ( ). Last September, Columbia University published a major study supporting the link Dr. Wakefield established between autism and enterocolitis ( ).

Lewis Investigation Available Online:

Dr. Lewis’ detailed investigation of the BMJ series in question can be downloaded here.pdf


Marketing drugs with tabloid science

Editors at the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and Brian Deer, a freelance reporter
with no formal training in science or medicine, alleged that Andrew Wakefield
fabricated the diagnosis of colitis in a 1998 Lancet study involving 12 children with
autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). In the study, some parents and physicians linked
MMR vaccine to the children's gastrointestinal problems and rapid regression into
autism. In 2010, Deer alleged in the BMJ that Wakefield alone made up the diagnosis
by misinterpreting grading sheets from pathologists A.P. Dhillon and A. Anthony, who
reviewed the children's colonic biopsy samples.

In the article, Deer wrote that, according to specialists, grading sheets "don’t
generate clinical diagnoses such as colitis." Grading sheets I recovered from
Wakefield's files, however, show that Anthony wrote "colitis" in marginal notes on a
number of his grading sheets. And, Dhillon included boxes to check for various
diagnoses, such as Crohn's disease and "UC" for ulcerative colitis. Consistent with the
Lancet article, both pathologists found that only one child showed no evidence of

Last September, BMJ's chief editor, Fiona Godlee, rejected a commentary I wrote
about Wakefield's documents. In its place, she invited me to submit a Rapid Response,
which I did. But, instead of admitting she had falsely accused Wakefield of making up
the diagnosis of colitis, she and Deer simply cherry-picked the evidence to come up
with a new theory involving "institutional research misconduct." The alleged fraudsters
now include University College London (UCL) administrators, the Royal Free
Hospital, and all 13 authors of the Lancet study.

Their objective, according to an editorial and feature article Godlee and Deer
published with my Rapid Response, was to create the MMR scare so that UCL could
sell its own safer measles vaccine, diagnostic kits and "autism products." In her
editorial, Godlee acknowledged "the BMJ Group receives funding from the two
manufacturers of MMR vaccine, Merck and GSK."

To support their new fraud theory, Godlee rewrote my Rapid Response, removing
any evidence that undermined their allegations against Wakefield and others. Then, to
prevent me from publishing this evidence on my NWC website, Deer filed a flurry of
false allegations of ethical misconduct against me with the NWC. Godlee ignored my
protests over Deer's behavior; and some of his false and misleading characterizations of
my professional credentials and current work appeared in her editorial and Deer's
feature article

When testifying before Parliament in 2011, Godlee agreed that peer-reviewed
journals have become "the marketing arm of the pharmaceutical industry." Therefore, it
shouldn't surprise anyone if her fraud allegations turn out to be nothing more than a
scheme to protect the BMJ's financial interests in companies marketing the MMR
vaccine. What's frightening is that it requires one of Great Britain's leading medical
journals to utterly destroy the reputation of one of the world's most prestigious
academic institutions.

Dr. Lewis’ detailed investigation of the BMJ series in question can be downloaded here.pdf

Dr. Lewis's direct contact information:
(706) 296 3675 .

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