Tag Archives: Richard Horton

LANCET: Anti-Semitism is Fine, Suing Vaccine Manufacturers is “Fatal”

Photo Credit: EAT Foundation

Read the editor’s rejected letter to the editor of The Lancet about the double-standard in his journal concerning vaccine injury and anti-Semitism:

Not even anti-Semitism is a fatal conflict of interest worthy of retraction, so why is vaccine injury litigation?

The Lancet keeps a published “An open letter for the people in Gaza” by Manduca et al. despite the undisclosed, anti-Semitic conflicts of interest of two coauthors. Yet The Lancet now keeps “Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children” by Wakefield et al. retracted solely because of a coauthor’s undisclosed involvement in vaccine injury litigation.

The stated reasons for the paper’s retraction are findings by the General Medical Council (GMC) that were overturned on appeal by the senior author. The Lancet’s ombudsman made clear in email that reasons not explicitly mentioned in the retraction statement are the reasons for the paper’s continued retraction. Wakefield’s undisclosed “interests” of litigation are those reasons.

Meanwhile, The Lancet keeps the Gaza letter published even after it was revealed that two of its coauthors circulated anti-Semitic conspiracy theories by a former Ku Klux Klansman. One of those coauthors is still registered with the GMC despite her non-disclosure to the editor of The Lancet. That is because a “conflict of interest” as defined in GMC’s guidance for doctors is left to the subjective decision of the doctor.

The editor of The Lancet – being registered with a license to practice – would know that. Yet he is perfectly happy to be cited in the GMC’s discredited decision against Wakefield et al. as the person whom Wakefield was obligated to disclose his litigation involvement to. The editor even assisted the GMC in its pursuit of Wakefield after accusing him of a “fatal conflict of interest.”

Per GMC’s guidance, Wakefield was under no obligation of disclosure. The GMC decisions cited in The Lancet retraction explicitly held him to a different standard because of what he published.

Neither the GMC nor the editor took any such exception with the anti-Semitism of Gaza letter coauthors. The editor called it “irrelevant,” saying “I have no plans to retract the letter, and I would not retract the letter even if it was found to be substantiated.”

Since anti-Semitism is not even worthy of retraction or disciplinary erasure, vaccine injury litigation should not be either. If the editor of The Lancet agreed, he would have restored Wakefield et al. with a statement urging the GMC to restore Andrew Wakefield’s registration. The editor refused.

Autism Investigated Plugged By The Independent in Trump Articles

President Donald Trump and longtime vaccine-autism scientist Dr. Andrew Wakefield, The Independent

In not one, but two articles in The Independent(UK) about President Donald Trump, the following tweet by the editor to the editor-in-chief of the British Medical Journal.

Chelsea Clinton read at least one of the articles that included the editor’s tweet.

And what was the decision that justified stripping Dr. Wakefield’s license and retracting his early paper based on? Why, the simple fact that he published critically on vaccines.

b. You knew or ought to have known that your reporting in the Lancet paper of a temporal link between the syndrome you described and the MMR vaccination, Admitted and found proved i. had major public health implications, Admitted and found proved ii. would attract intense public and media interest, Admitted and found proved

Attacking Jews won’t get you retracted by The Lancet nor struck-off the medical register, but reporting vaccine injury will.

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!

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.