Elliman & Bedford Letter to Private Eye (June 14 2002)
Private Eye Special Report - MMR We were saddened (although not entirely surprised), to read the news item about our review, for the British Medical Journal, of the Eye special report. The comment that our report was scathing "...but they would say that, wouldnt they" could be taken to imply that our critical comments were primarily a result of receiving reimbursement from vaccine manufacturers for attending educational meetings or conducting research. It is a pity that the Eye consider this to be an appropriate response, but then they would say that wouldnt they? While it is correct to say that we would be critical, it is because we have taken the time to look at ALL the scientific evidence on this issue, not just that provided by a select very vocal group. We would be the first to highlight any manipulation of the truth on the part of drug companies or the Department of Health and are very offended that it is implied that this is not the case.
We would like to point out that the Eye knows that the BMJ omitted to mention the above funding because we have been assiduous in declaring this in the past and it was only an oversight on the part of the BMJ that it did not happened on this occasion. Any funding we receive from vaccine manufacturers does not go into our own pockets. Indeed since we are aware that some people would consider receiving any such funds to be tantamount to being the mouthpiece of the manufacturers, we donate any payments other than funding for research, to charitable organisations. In this instance our fee from the BMJ was donated to the National Autistic Society. What, we wonder will the Eye make of that?
We look forward to reading a more considered review of your comments.
Lecturer in Child Health, Institute of Child Health, London.
Consultant in Community Child Health, St Georges