The Lancet study was not paid for by the Legal Services Commission and our children were referred to the Royal Free Hospital because they were very sick and would still have had investigations done even if they were not part of the Lancet research as many more children have done after the Lancet study by other consultants at the Royal Free and other hospitals in London.
Dr. Andrew Wakefield listened to the concerns of many parents about
their sick children suffering with bowel conditions and a form of
Autism, a bowel condition and brain damage that was ignored by other
professionals. These parents were demonstrably ‘black listed’ for saying
their children became ill after the MMR vaccine.
Parents were speaking about this situation years before Dr. Wakefield
came on the scene and our government also knew about these concerns
years before the Lancet study yet they did nothing to investigate,
leaving hundreds of other children at risk of side effects. Our
government did not listen to parents but accused them of making the
symptoms up and threatening to take their children away if they did not
stop making a connection with MMR vaccine. As a result, these children
and young adults live in a great deal of pain to this day (one doctor
saying to my son ‘we believe you believe you are in pain’).
There is much more I could say about the experience of my family and
others but I want to make it clear that the children’s claims in
relation to MMR were supported by many other experts in several
disciplines all of whom provided reports for the court. I attach a list
of them. These experts would all have given evidence at the Royal Courts
of Justice on behalf of hundreds of children we claim were damaged by
the MMR vaccine had the cases been allowed to continue. In addition the
solicitors representing the claimants were in touch with and drawing on
the expertise from many more than these, but many did not want to be
formal experts. I don't know how much the experts listed were paid, but
they were all paid fees just as Dr. Wakefield was in the normal way that
experts are paid in litigation cases (and probably much less than the
defendants’ experts were paid!).
MMR Claimant Experts (who produced reports that were served)
Professor M B Abou- Donia
professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology and a professor of
Neurobiology Duke University medical centre
Pharmacology and neurobiology
Dr Kenneth Aitken
K.Aitken Consultancy, Independent Consultant
Child Clinical Neuropsychologist,
Professor William Banks Professor in the Department of Pharmacology &
Physiology, both departments at Saint Louis University School of
Pharmacology and physiology
Dr. Edward Bilsky Associate Professor of Pharmacology University of New
England College of Medicine
James Jeffrey Bradstreet, MD, Fellow, AAFP
International Child Development Resource Center Adjunct Professor of
Neurosciences Department of Psychology Stetson University Celebration,
Vera S. Byers, M.D., Ph.D
President of Immunology, Inc Immunologist
Professor Neal Castagnoli, Jr.
Peters Professor of Chemistry Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA
Dr A Peter Fletcher MB BS PhD FFPM (Dist)
Former regulator Industry expert
Professor Noam Harpaz Associate Attending Pathologist, The Mount Sinai
Hospital, Director, Division of Gastrointestinal Pathology, The Mount
Sinai Hospital, and Associate Professor of Pathology, The Mount Sinai
School of Medicine,
Professor Ronald C. Kennedy, Ph.D
Professor and Chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology
at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center located in Lubbock,
Marcel Kinsbourne, D.M. (OXON), M.R.C.P. (LOND).
Research Professor of Cognitive Studies at Tufts University and
Professor of Psychology at the New School University in New York
Arthur Krigsman MD New York University Hospital Pediatric
Dr John March Head of Mycoplasmology at the Moredun Research Institute
(MRI), Edinburgh Vaccine development; molecular biologist
Professor John J Marchalonis Professor and Chairman Department of
Microbiology and Immunology, University of Arizona, College of Medicine
Tucson, Arizona Microbiologist and immunologist
Professor Johnjoe McFadden Professor of Molecular Genetics at the School
of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford
John H. Menkes, M.D Professor Emeritus of Neurology and Pediatrics
University of California, Los Angeles Director Emeritus of Pediatric
Neurology Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Neurologist
Dr Scott M Montgomery Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
Professor John J. O’Leary, MD, DPhil, MSc, BSc, FRCPath, FFPathRCPI
Professor of Pathology at Trinity College Dublin and Consultant
Histopathologist, St. James’s Hospital Dublin and the Coombe Women’s
Professor Samuel Shapiro MB, FRCP(E). Visiting Professor of
Epidemiology. Mailman School of School of Public Health. Columbia
University. Emeritus Director. Slone Epidemiology Center. Boston
University School of Public Health. Epidemiologist
Dr Orla Sheils Senior Lecturer in Molecular Pathology University of
Dublin, Trinity College (TCD).
Dr Fiona Scott BSc (Hons) PhD C.Psychol
Chartered Psychologist University of Cambridge
Dr Carol Stott BSc (Hons) PhD (CANTAB) C.Psychol
Chartered Psychologist University of Cambridge
Professor SAMY SUISSA
Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics McGill University and Royal
Victoria Hospital Montreal, Canada
Professor Richard Tedder
Head of the Joint Department of Virology, University College London.
Also Clinical Lead for the UCLH NHS Trust Department of Virology and
Clinical Head of Microbiology Services UCLH NHS Trust
Professor Edward J Thompson Doctor of Medicine (MD, FRCP,FRCPath) and a
Doctor of Science (DSc,PhD)
Head of the Department of Neuroimmunology at the National Hospital for
Neurology & Neurosurgery
Professor John Walker- Smith
Emeritus Professor of Paediatric Gastroenterology in the University of
Dr. Troy D. Wood Associate Professor in Chemistry and Adjunct Faculty in
Structural Biology at the University at Buffalo, State University of New
York, Buffalo, NY, USA
Chemistry and structural biology
The court case was not heard and parents did not lose. Legal Aid decided
to pull their funds for the sick children at the last minute. Legal Aid
is government run and the government took out an indemnity to protect
the drug companies from parents suing and we as parents had no idea that
the litigation case was set up to fail right from the start. The
government could not afford for the children to win and thus they could
not afford for the statements from the experts to be read out in court.
I have these reports and am told they are sealed and I am not allowed to
produce them here however tempted. Below is a ‘summing up by Justice
Keith when a few of us parents tried to continue the case without the
support of Legal Aid and spoke in front of a room full of drug company
representatives about our sick children. At the Royal Courts of Justice.
I was very proud to be part of that group.
" It is important for the claimants’ litigation friends to understand
why their children’s claims are not being allowed to proceed. It is not
because the court thinks that the claims have no merit. Although this
litigation has been going on for very many years, the question whether
the claims have merit has never been addressed by the court. The reason
why the claims have not been allowed to proceed is because everyone has
realistically recognised for some time that it is just not practicable
for the claims to proceed without public funding. With no realistic
prospect of public funding being restored for any of the claims save for
the two which are now to proceed as unitary actions, the dissolution of
the litigation became inevitable.
Before leaving the litigation, I wish to express my thanks to the
defendants’ legal teams for the assistance they have given the court.
Although at all times advancing the interests of their clients as is to
be expected in adversarial litigation, they recognised the needs of the
claimants’ litigation friends, and provided them with all the
information they needed, as well as affording them the occasional
indulgence. The assembly of the various bundles of documents, and the
preparation of the skeleton arguments, were of an exceptionally high
order. But my final words must go to the claimants’ litigation friends.
As I said in an earlier judgement, no-one can fail to have enormous
sympathy for the parents of the children to whom this litigation has
related. They have spoken eloquently and with great feeling of the
tragedies which befell them when their children became ill. They blame
the vaccines produced by the defendants for damaging their children, and
they are bitter over their inability to proceed with their claims. But
when they came to court, they always expressed themselves in a measured
and moderate tone, despite their disenchantment with the Legal Services
Commission which they believe has let them down, and at all times they
treated the court with courtesy and respect. They made my difficult task
less wearing that it might otherwise have been. I am grateful to them
for that." Justice Keith.
Dr Andrew Wakefield made front page news in some of the national papers
prompting an immediate reaction that it is lunacy to give him space, and
that what he says is "balderdash". What is highly questionable (and
vindictive) is to blame him for all the ills of MMR vaccine because he
published a paper in the Lancet 15 years ago (which has neither been
"discredited" nor did it claim that MMR causes autism) and because he
suggested that children should be given the single measles vaccine.
The association between autism and MMR was never assessed by the UK
courts because of the withdrawal of legal aid. In the USA and Italy the
courts have awarded compensation for MMR vaccine damage. The USA also
has an expert committee for assessing claims of vaccine damage and they
have compensated other parents for damage caused by MMR which did not
then need to go through the full legal process.
How long does it take the UK government to learn that cover-up is
invariably a more serious matter than the original crime or mistake?
It's time the spotlight was turned on Dr Salisbury, who had little or no
background in immunisation and had only been in post a short time when
he reassured his committee that they did not need to worry about the
adverse effects of Pluserix despite its withdrawal in Canada and serious
reports from Japan? It's time to turn the spotlight on the process by
which was Brian Deer recruited by the DOH to help rescue their MMR
programme. It is, of course ,easy to conjecture and it needs a full
enquiry which must come sooner or later, the results of which demand
full media attention.
I am aware that in 1992 two of the three brands of MMR were withdrawn
overnight on the safety ground that they caused viral meningitis and
that when MMR was first introduced the Department of Health stated that
the single vaccine would continue to be available. For their own reasons
they changed their minds later. Had they not done so, those who had
concerns could have continued to protect their children from measles and
this outbreak would not be happening.
I know that it is officially denied that there is any link between the
vaccine and any form of autism (even though American and Italian courts
appear to have accepted the link). What is not denied is that the rate
of autism had increased substantially since the 1990s (from about one in
2500 to as many as one in 50). Instead of blaming Andrew Wakefield every
time there is a measles outbreak why does the Government not put funding
into finding the cause of this distressing condition? If it can be shown
that the cause of the increase in autism has absolutely nothing to do
with vaccines, then that will remove the suspicion that it does and you
can all forget that Andrew Wakefield ever existed.
Governments should be putting huge resources into finding out what is
causing this disabling condition which is putting an immense strain on
families and draining the welfare resources of this and other countries,
not attacking doctors and parents of lies. This I call child abuse.
Professor John Walker Smith who was part of the Lancet team was
exonerated in the Autism MMR GMC Case. The GMC stated afterwards ‘Mr
Justice Mitting has made a number of criticisms about the inadequacy of
the reasons given by the panel for the decisions they made on the
charges facing Professor Walker-Smith. The panel of medical and
non-medical members, having heard all the evidence, were required to set
out very clearly why they reached the decisions they did. They failed to
do that in relation to key questions, including whether Professor
Walker-Smith’s actions were undertaken for the purpose of medical
practice or medical research and whether procedures performed on the
children were clinically necessary. These were important points that
needed to be addressed by the panel in the determination and the failure
to do so was the major cause of Mr Justice Mitting allowing the appeal.
This also stands for Dr. Wakefield who did not have the funds to
challenge the GMC as Professor Walker Smith did.
Parent of two boys who were part of the Lancet study.