For Immediate Release:
Mar 12, 2009
Dr. Andrew Wakefield Submits Detailed Document to PCC Showing Examples of Erroneous Published Information
A formal complaint against journalist Brian Deer was delivered to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) today on behalf of Dr. Andrew Wakefield, the physician whose autism research has been the subject of several articles in the Sunday Times. Deer is accused in the PCC document of publishing incorrect information and also of having a conflict of interest caused by his involvement in the General Medical Committee’s (GMC) investigation of Wakefield.
“Journalists clearly have a right and responsibility to report on matters of public interest”, Wakefield said. “But they also have an obligation to make certain their information is accurate–especially when someone’s livelihood and professional reputation are at stake. Mr. Deer has failed miserably as a reporter and has done great harm to me and many others conducting autism research.”
Information contained in the PCC filing listed numerous instances of Deer’s failure to obtain and report accurate information for a story in the February 9, 2009 Sunday Times that wrongly accused Wakefield of distorting data. As an example, Deer wrote that no doctors have been able to replicate Wakefield’s 1998 Lancet study that showed intestinal inflammation in children with autism. However, in the past four years three separate studies have all shown a similar association between autism and intestinal inflammation in children.
“Time and again, Mr. Deer cherry-picks information and ignores data that contradict his premise,” Wakefield added. “Further, he shouldn’t even be writing about my case since he is on record as having filed the original complaint with the GMC and has become complicit in the agency’s investigation by supplying documents and evidence from children’s medical records. This is hardly impartial journalism.”
Although Deer has consistently denied he is the source of the first complaint that launched the GMC”s investigation on Feb. 24, 2004, three days after he wrote his first article on Wakefield Deer contacted the GMC caseworker Tim Cox-Brown via email: “I write to ask your permission to lay before you an outline of evidence that you may consider worthy of evaluation with respect of the possibility of serious professional misconduct…”.
Deer, writing for a major publication under the pretense of objectivity, has also made numerous slurs on his website against Dr. Wakefield and his supporters. The biases, conflicts of interest, and inaccurate information used by Deer are all detailed in the complaint delivered to the PCC.
Wakefield, who now lives in Austin, Texas, is continuing his research at Thoughtful House Center for Children dedicated to serving children with autism and other developmental disorders. Wakefield and his colleague from Thoughtful House, Dr. Bryan Jepson, are speaking at the Treating Autism 2nd International Biomedical Conference and Exhibition at the Bournemouth International Centre, Mar. 12-14.
About Thoughtful House: Thoughtful House takes a multi-disciplinary approach to treating autism and supports a ‘safety-first’ vaccination policy that gives parents the option of choosing a stand-alone measles vaccine for their children. The research program at Thoughtful House is dedicated to understanding the biological origins of childhood developmental disorders and establishing best practices in treating children affected by these disorders.
Contact: James C. Moore