Tag Archives: Lancet

Happy New Year: The Lancet Acknowledges Dr. Andrew Wakefield Is Exonerated

While The Lancet ombudsman Dr. Malcolm Molyneux refused to reverse the retraction of exonerated gastroenterologist Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s landmark paper on post-vaccination autism, Dr. Molyneux did acknowledge that the UK General Medical Council’s findings of misconduct against Dr. Wakefield had been overturned.

When told that the 2012 High Court decision in favor of Dr. Wakefield’s colleague Prof. John Walker-Smith “would kill the GMC findings on which your journal’s retraction was based”, the ombudsman Dr. Malcolm Molyneux replied:

Dear Mr Crosby,

Thank you for your letter of June 13, 2015, in which you request that the Lancet Editor reinstate the retracted paper Ileal-lymphoid-nodular-hyperplasia, non-specific colitis and pervasive developmental disorder in children.

In the retraction statement, the editors of The Lancet stated that “several elements of the 1998 paper by Wakefield et al are incorrect. In particular….’” The retraction then mentions the enrolment [sic] procedure and ethical clearance, but implies that there remain other elements on which the decision was based.

Having considered all of the relevant material, I can see no sufficient reason for reinstatement of the Wakefield paper. I do not believe that COPE’s guidelines have been violated by retraction of the paper in question, or by failure to reinstate it.

I do not believe there is justification for any further debate about this extensively discussed article.

Yours sincerely,

Prof Malcolm Molyneux, Lancet Ombudsman

Despite Molyneux alluding to “other elements” which he did not name, at least both The Lancet and Dr. Andrew Wakefield agree that he was exonerated of the disciplinary findings against him now that they have been completely overturned. The British Medical Journal had better have a strong enough relationship with the drug company Merck to offset the expulsion from the National Library of Medicine that journal may now face as a result of defaming Dr. Wakefield. Now that The Lancet ombudsman has acknowledged that elements of its own retraction of Dr. Wakefield’s paper have proven to be false, The Lancet had better hope the same for its own relationship with Merck as well.

There is another choice The Lancet can make, however, which is to do the right thing by restoring Dr. Wakefield’s paper to its rightful place in the medical literature. And then maybe – just maybe – The Lancet editor can get that five minutes with Donald Trump he’s been begging for…

 

 

Here’s to a Happy New Year!

Dr. Andrew Wakefield on Re-Licensure – “I will now give this very, very serious consideration”

Wakefield_VaxedTrailor-1024x576

At the annual AutismOne conference – 26.5 minutes into the below Twitter-linked video of a Q/A session on the documentary Vaxxed – director and much-maligned doctor Andrew Wakefield said he will give “very, very serious consideration” to getting his medical license restored. His comment was met with applause and cheers from the audience, who gave him a standing ovation.

Dr. Wakefield first expressed interest in having his license restored earlier this year, and Autism Investigated received a signed letter from the UK’s General Medical Council (GMC) saying they would consider his application for restoration and “any further supporting evidence” he provides. He then drew criticism from Autism Investigated after saying in a text message that re-licensure still was not a priority for him.

But on the night of May 28th, Dr. Wakefield had a well-received change of tune that couldn’t have come a moment too soon. He was gracious for being reminded earlier that day that it was approval from an ethics committee of the National Health Service (NHS) that the GMC claimed he needed but lacked when he arranged for blood to be taken from children at his son’s birthday party. However, those rules did not apply to those children because they were not patients. So the birthday party allegations are totally nullified.

All the GMC findings that caused Dr. Wakefield’s medical license to be revoked and his papers retracted have really been overturned four years ago. Unfortunately, it is because his medical license remains revoked and his papers remain retracted that he continues to be dismissed. Winning back his medical license would take away those excuses to dismiss him once and for all.

When the audience was done clapping for Dr. Wakefield after he expressed his renewed interest in restoration, he concluded, “If I am vindicated it will give credence to the parents’ story”. Then someone from the audience rose up and said, “the world needs more doctors like you. You need your license back.”

Addendum: Embedded link replaced with embedded video footage of Q/A following Dr. Wakefield’s excellent documentary.

Andrew Wakefield Fights to Win Back Medical License

With all the attacks against de-licensed British doctor Andrew Wakefield by the scavengers of the media, one thing that gets lost is the fact that the findings on which the retraction of his paper and revocation of his medical license were based have been completely overturned. Wakefield is now looking to get his medical license back that the UK’s General Medical Council had taken from him over five years ago.

When faced with the fact that the findings used to justify the retraction were effectively disproved, the ombudsman of The Lancet – the journal that retracted Wakefield’s paper – Dr. Malcolm Molyneux admitted:

The retraction then mentions the enrolment [sic] procedure and ethical clearance, but implies that there remain other elements on which the decision was based.

The only accurate way to interpret Molyneux’s answer is that he tacitly acknowledges that the findings specifically mentioned to justify the paper’s retraction were overturned, but does not want to do anything about it or even revise the journal’s retraction statement. When pressed on what those “other elements” were that justified the paper’s retraction, Molyneux did not respond further.

Now that Andrew Wakefield is screening a film on the government’s cover-up of vaccines causing autism at the Tribeca Film Festival, I only wish he would include the unwarranted retraction of his paper in his Tribeca bio. I have been quite disappointed in Wakefield – from saying he insists on GMC’s witch trial against him and his colleagues to giving an interview with the pharma-conspiring New York Times, he has truly proven himself to be clueless about how to handle the scavengers’ attacks on him. Look at how pathetic his Tribeca film bio is:

Andrew Wakefield, MB.BS., is an academic gastroenterologist who practiced medicine at the Royal Free in the U.K. publishing over 140 scientific papers. In 1995, he was contacted by parents of autistic children with stomach issues; he learned that these conditions often occurred immediately following an MMR vaccine. In pursuit of this possible link, Dr. Wakefield led an initial study of twelve children with both stomach and developmental issues. The report, published in The Lancet, would catapult Wakefield into becoming one of the most controversial figures in the history of medicine. Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Controversy is his second film.

This is what it should really say:

Andrew Wakefield, MB.BS., is an academic gastroenterologist who practiced medicine at the Royal Free in the U.K. publishing over 140 scientific papers. In 1995, he was contacted by parents of autistic children with stomach issues; he learned that these conditions often occurred immediately following an MMR vaccine. His initial study of these children was retracted by The Lancet and his medical license was revoked because of disproved disciplinary findings that have now been completely overturned on appeal. Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Controversy is his second film.

Wakefield tells Autism Investigated that he is trying to get his medical license back, which is all the more appropriate now that the findings against him have been completely overturned by his colleague’s appeal. Yet he has never commented on whether he will even make a public statement about it. He most certainly should, especially now that his documentary on the CDC whistleblower story that he hijacked is being screened at Tribeca.

Update: Tribeca Film Festival pulled the documentary: “The Festival doesn’t seek to avoid or shy away from controversy. However, we have concerns with certain things in this film that we feel prevent us from presenting it in the Festival program. We have decided to remove it from our schedule.”

Footage from the film includes surreptitious recordings of Dr. William Thompson’s voice leaked by Wakefield as well as a silhouetted actor posing as Dr. Thompson.

Addendum: Last January, Autism Investigated sent the following question to the General Medical Council: “How do you justify keeping Dr. Andrew Wakefield de-licensed when all your findings against him have been overturned on appeal by his colleague, Prof. John Walker-Smith?”

The GMC replied with a signed letter that did not address the findings themselves, but did conclude: “a doctor can apply for restoration to the register in certain circumstances. We would then consider the doctor’s application, along with any further supporting evidence they provide, and determine whether to grant restoration to the register.”

More than five years has elapsed since Dr. Wakefield’s erasure, making him eligible to apply. Once he does, the GMC will have to consider his application along with “any further supporting evidence” he provides.

Andrew Wakefield Betrays CDC Whistleblower

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By Jake Crosby

When I wrote the article SafeMinds Steals The Show, Literally… early last year, I never thought I would write a piece I would enjoy writing even less than I enjoyed writing that one.

I was wrong.

Andrew Wakefield has betrayed the CDC whistleblower by releasing his name without his consent. On the Autism Media Channel website, a video hosted by Wakefield is up announcing the whistleblower’s name and playing recordings of his voice. In the video is scientist and parent Dr. Brian Hooker, who had been in discussions with the whistleblower and made the catastrophic mistake of sharing his identity with Wakefield. Complicit in the betrayal is Age of Autism, which is promoting Wakefield’s video while repeating the whistleblower’s name.

In commentary to a small group of people later relayed to Autism Investigated, attorney Robert Krakow commented:

“I am very familiar with the information [whistleblower] offered. Disclosure of [whistleblower]’s existence and identity at this point in time is a colossal blunder and an inexplicable error in judgment that damages irreparably the opportunity to use [whistleblower]’s very valuable information and testimony effectively.  I know that Brian Hooker did not make the disclosure.”

It remains truly ironic that Andrew Wakefield – a man betrayed by the Lancet editor a decade ago – would turn around and betray the trust of someone who has come forward with valuable information about the fraud committed in a federal agency. Also ironic is that Wakefield similarly betrayed the trust of Dr. Brian Hooker, whose congressional activities have been repeatedly undermined by groups associated with Age of Autism.

More will be reported as this story develops.

Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Arts in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy and a 2013 graduate of The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services with a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology. He currently attends the University of Texas School of Public Health where he is studying for a Ph.D. in Epidemiology.

 

Kennedy’s Ghostwriter Defended Thimerosal

adam hadhazy

ghostwriter: A person whose job it is to write material for someone else who is the named author. – Oxford Dictionaries

By Jake Crosby

As surprising as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. chopping out the chapters on autism from his book “Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak” while saying there is no proof thimerosal causes autism, is the identity of one of the professional writers he hired to write his book for him. The creator listed in the file properties of Kennedy’s unpublished manuscript had actually defended the neurotoxic vaccine preservative thimerosal, which appears to shed light on Kennedy’s decision to strike the chapters.

Adam Hadhazy is a “freelance science writer” with his own professional website and linkedin account. He also authored a piece for Popular Mechanics in 2010 defending thimerosal, titled “The Truth About 9 Anti-Vaccine Studies.” In it, he quoted millionaire vaccine industrialist Paul Offit as summarizing Dr. Mark Geier’s research on thimerosal and autism “junk.” Hadhazy also called Dr. Andrew Wakefield “discredited” and wrote that his 1998 Lancet paper on children with autism and bowel disease “largely launched the dangerous anti-vaccination movement.”

Adam Hadhazy further cited the letter former CDC researcher  Thomas Verstraeten wrote to Pediatrics falsely stating that CDC did not conceal any evidence  thimerosal causes autism. Citing Paul Offit, Hadhazy suggested that infants can “conservatively handle thousands of vaccines simultaneously”. The take-away point from all this is that Hadhazy is an all-purpose defender of the vaccine program, and he’s written Kennedy’s book for him. Hadhazy’s “substantive, behind the scenes role” in Kennedy striking the chapters connecting thimerosal to autism is more than evident.

In the Washington Post, Dr. Mark Hyman – celebrity doctor who wrote the book’s preface – takes credit for convincing Kennedy to remove the chapters. Yet Dr. Hyman is an awfully strange person to have done so, given that he has no history of writing about thimerosal. Dr. Hyman further echos a familiar pharma talking point: “Yes, there’s been an increase in autism, even as we take out thimerosal” (Ironically, the CDC data Dr. Hyman relied on to defend thimerosal is not even considered reliable by thimerosal defenders). Hadhazy’s piece for Popular Mechanics on thimerosal and vaccines is heavily laden with pharma talking points.

In Kennedy’s officially released book, the entire part on autism is removed including a chapter titled “Autism Rates Decline When Thimerosal Exposure Levels Are Reduced” and another on the government’s concession that vaccines caused autism in Hannah Poling. The entire part critiquing media coverage was removed as well. Even chapters in remaining parts were pulled. Those include chapters on CDC and AAP’s conflicts of interest, the Breusewitz v. Wyeth Supreme Court decision siding with drug companies, the Homeland Security Rider seeking to protect thimerosal maker Eli Lilly and CDC’s intimidation tactics against scientists such as Dr. Mark and David Geier and Prof. Richard Deth. Those chapters were apparently “too combustible” to keep as well, as was the word “Causative” that was taken out of the chapter title that formerly read “The Verstraeten Study – Causative Links between Thimerosal and Neurological Damage.”

Meanwhile, Age of Autism continues to ardently defend Kennedy, saying on its Facebook page: “If you’d like to piss in the cornflakes, find another bowl.”

It looks like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has already done that to his own bowl.

Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Arts in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy and a 2013 graduate of The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services with a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology. He currently attends the University of Texas School of Public Health where he is studying for a Ph.D. in Epidemiology.

Lancet Keeps Wakefield et al. Retracted in Contempt of Court

Monotone legal concept

By Jake Crosby

Findings of the UK General Medical Council against the Wakefield et al. paper were overturned by the High Court, yet the Lancet still keeps that paper retracted – citing those overturned findings. Previous attempts have been made to persuade Lancet editor Richard Horton and the previous Lancet ombudsman Charles Warlow to restore “Ileal-Lymphoid-Nodular-Hyperplasia, Non-specific Colitis and Pervasive Developmental Disorder in Children” by Wakefield et al. Horton flatly refused, while Warlow denied having any responsibility for reconsidering the status of the paper.

Then in March, the Lancet hired Wisia Wedzicha – a new ombudsman to take Warlow’s place. In April, I contacted her asking that she repeal the retraction and restore Wakefield et al. Below is my email correspondence with her. Interestingly, she did acknowledge having responsibility for reconsidering the status of the paper, despite keeping it retracted for no given reason. She also  made it clear that she did not want to hear about this matter again.

 

—–Original Message—–
From: Jake Crosby
To: ombudsman
Sent: Sun, Apr 20, 2014 5:58 pm
Subject: Wakefield et al. Should Still Be Restored

Dear Prof. Wedzicha,

I am an epidemiologist and public health student who also edits an autism news website, autisminvestigated.com. A paper remains retracted by your medical journal on the basis of findings since overturned by a High Court Ruling. It is long past due that that paper, “Ileal-lymphoid-nodular-hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children” by Wakefield et al. be fully restored to the published record.

A 2010 judgment by the General Medical Council was the basis for the Lancet’s retraction, signed by “The Editors of The Lancet,” who gave the following reasons for pulling the paper:

“In particular, the claims in the original paper that children were “consecutively referred” and that investigations were “approved” by the local ethics committee have been proven to be false.”

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(10)60175-4/fulltext

But following the successful appeal of the paper’s senior clinical investigator – John Walker-Smith – the GMC findings that served as the basis for Lancet’s retraction have since been overturned.

With regard to the GMC’s false claims that the patients in the paper were not “consecutively referred”:

“157. …Thus construed, this paper does not bear the meaning put upon it by the [GMC] panel. The phrase “consecutively referred” means no more than that the children were referred successively, rather than as a single batch, to the Department of Paediatric Gastroenterology.”

Similarly, the GMC’s rulings that the children in the Lancet paper were subjects of a research project that did not gain ethical approval also proved unfounded:

“158. …The [GMC] panel’s finding that the description of the patient population in the Lancet paper was misleading would only have been justified if its primary finding that all of the Lancet children were referred for the purposes of research as part of Project 172-96 is sustainable. Because, for the reasons which I have given, it was not, this aspect of its findings must also fall.”

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2012/503.html

The judge found only one misleading statement in the paper, but it was not because investigations undertaken were unethical experiments described as gaining ethical approval in the paper according to the now-overturned findings on which the paper’s retraction was based. On the contrary, it was because investigations in the paper were described as being ethically approved when most were clinically indicated and required no such approval, although a few investigations were ethically approved. This may require an erratum, but it does not justify keeping the paper fully retracted.

When these points were made to Richard Horton in 2012, he dismissively replied, “We have no plans to change our decision about this paper.”

After I took this matter up with your predecessor Charles Warlow, I was promised a response from him by executive editor Richard Turner: “Prof Warlow will be in touch with you in due course.”

Although I never received any reply from Prof. Warlow, he apparently replied to at least one other reader who raised the same concerns that I did. Warlow dismissively replied:

“In fact this is an editorial decision which as Ombudsman is not my business; I have to deal with complaints about process, delays, rudeness and such like.”

http://childhealthsafety.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/andrew-wakefields-lancet-paper-lancet-ombudsman-there-is-a-scientific-argument-which-is-continuing-and-has-yet-to-be-sorted-out-to-everyones-satisfaction/

In fact, among the categories listed under “What our ombudsman can investigate” is “challenges to the publishing ethics of the journal.”

http://www.thelancet.com/ombudsman

This is very much an issue of publishing ethics since it concerns a paper staying fully retracted from the published record based on legal findings since-overturned by a High Court decision. Interestingly, your predecessor did not include “publishing ethics” in the categories he said he could investigate in his reply to that other reader. I think a case could be made for editorial dishonesty given that the retraction was signed by “The Editors of The Lancet” and given that Richard Horton insisted on keeping the paper retracted in spite of being informed of how the paper remained retracted on the basis of overturned charges. I also believe he is very conflicted in making such a decision since he himself testified against the paper’s lead author at the GMC Hearing that led to the paper’s retraction. This matter deserves fair and independent consideration.

I hope you will investigate accordingly, and I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,

Jake Crosby, MPH

—–Original Message—–
From: Wedzicha, Jadwiga A
To: ‘Jake Crosby’
Sent: Fri, May 2, 2014 6:07 am
Subject: Ombudsman

Dear Dr Crosby,

Thank you very much for your inquiry. I know the case in question well and I do not believe that there are sufficient new grounds to overturn the paper’s retraction from the Lancet.

I regret to inform you that I can see no reason for an investigation.

Sincerely,

Wisia Wedzicha
Lancet Ombudsman
Professor of Respiratory Medicine
Airways Disease Section
National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London,
Emmanuel Kaye Building,
Manresa Road,
London SW3 6LR
44 (0) 207 594 7947

From: Jake Crosby
Sent: 05 May 2014 10:27
To: Wedzicha, Jadwiga A
Subject: Re: Ombudsman

Dear Dr. Wedzicha,

Thank you for your reply and also for your acknowledgement of the ombudsman’s responsibility for overturning retractions.

I must say I am very puzzled as to how there are not sufficient grounds to overturn this retraction when the GMC findings it was based on have been overturned by the High Court. As you can see from the quotes in my previous email, the ruling judge explicitly stated in his findings that the GMC was wrong to deny that the patients described in the paper were consecutively referred. He also struck down the GMC’s findings that the investigations described in the paper required ethical approvals that were not obtained, which the Lancet also cites as its basis for keeping the paper retracted. So how can this retraction stand without remaining in contempt of the High Court?

Sincerely,

Jake Crosby, MPH (I do not have a doctorate.)

—–Original Message—–
From: Wedzicha, Jadwiga A
To: ‘Jake Crosby’
Sent: Wed, May 7, 2014 4:18 am
Subject: RE: Ombudsman

Dear Mr Crosby

Thank you for your email.
The comment I made about not overturning the retraction still stands and there is no case to change this position.

I now consider this matter closed.

Best wishes

Wisia Wedzicha
Lancet Ombudsman

Wisia Wedzicha
Professor of Respiratory Medicine
Airways Disease Section
National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London,
Emmanuel Kaye Building,
Manresa Road,
London SW3 6LR
44 (0) 207 594 7947

Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Arts in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy and a 2013 graduate of The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services with a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology. He currently attends the University of Texas School of Public Health where he is studying for a Ph.D. in Epidemiology.