Posted - 12/31/2006 : 02:45:39
Let's take Andy
Wakefield out of this for a second and ask how
you could have such a prosecution without expert
fees? If you cannot prosecute large companies
then they are in principal, as well as practice
above the law. These are, I think, quite
moderate professional fees.
The Sunday Times December 31, 2006
MMR doctor given legal aid thousands
ANDREW WAKEFIELD, the former surgeon whose
campaign linking the MMR vaccine with autism
caused a collapse in immunisation rates, was
paid more than £400,000 by lawyers trying to
prove that the vaccine was unsafe.
The payments, unearthed by The Sunday Times,
were part of £3.4m distributed from the legal
aid fund to doctors and scientists who had been
recruited to support a now failed lawsuit
against vaccine manufacturers.
Critics this weekend voiced amazement at the
sums, which they said created a clear conflict
of interest and were the “financial engine”
behind a worldwide alarm over the triple
measles, mumps and rubella shot.
“These figures are astonishing,” said Dr Evan
Harris, Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and
“This lawsuit was an industry, and an industry
peddling what turned out to be a myth.”
According to the figures, released under the
Freedom of Information Act, Wakefield was paid
£435,643 in fees, plus £3,910 expenses.
Wakefield’s work for the lawyers began two years
before he published his now notorious report in
The Lancet medical journal in February 1998,
proposing a link between the vaccine and autism.
This suggestion, followed by a campaign led by
Wakefield, caused immunisation rates to slump
from 92% to 78.9%, although they have since
partly recovered. In March this year the first
British child in 14 years died from measles.
Later The Lancet retracted Wakefield’s claim and
apologised after a Sunday Times investigation
showed that his research had been backed with
£55,000 from lawyers, and that the children in
the study used as evidence against the vaccine
were also claimants in the lawsuit.
At the time Wakefield denied any conflict of
interest and said that the money went to his
hospital, not to him personally. No disclosure
was made, however, of the vastly greater sums
that he was receiving directly from the lawyers.
The bulk of the amount in the new figures,
released by the Legal Services Commission (LSC),
covers an eight to 10-year period. All payments
had to be approved by the courts.
Those who received money include numerous
Wakefield associates, business partners and
employees who had acted as experts in the case.
Five of his former colleagues at the Royal Free
hospital, north London, under whose aegis The
Lancet paper was written, received a total of
£183,000 in fees, according to the LSC.
Wakefield now runs a business in Austin, Texas,
two of whose employees are listed as receiving a
total of £112,000 in fees, while a Florida
physician, who appointed the former surgeon as
his “director of research”, was paid £21,600,
the figures show.
All have appeared in media reports as apparently
confirming Wakefield’s claims.
It is understood that the payments — for writing
reports, attending meetings and in some cases
carrying out research — were made at hourly
rates varying between £120 and £200, or £1,000 a
“There was a huge conflict of interest,” said Dr
John March, an animal vaccine specialist who was
among those recruited. “It bothered me quite a
lot because I thought, well, if I’m getting paid
for doing this, then surely it’s in my interest
to keep it going as long as possible.”
March, who the LSC allowed almost £90,000 to
research an aspect of Wakefield’s theories,
broke ranks this weekend to denounce both the
science of the attack and the amount that the
case had cost in lawyers’ and experts’ fees.
“The ironic thing is they were always going on
about how, you know, how we’ve hardly got any
money compared with the other side, who are
funded by large pharmaceutical companies. And
I’m thinking, judging by the amounts of money
you’re paying out, the other side must be living
like millionaires,” he said.
Also among those named as being paid from the
legal aid fund was a referee for one of
Wakefield’s papers, who was allowed £40,000. A
private GP who runs a single vaccines clinic
received £6,000, the LSC says.
Following The Sunday Times investigation,
immunisation rates have risen and the General
Medical Council launched an inquiry. This is due
to culminate in a three-month hearing next
summer, where Wakefield faces charges — which he
denies — of dishonesty over his research.
The LSC is also unlikely to escape criticism.
Three years ago the commission, which
administers a £2 billion budget to give poor
people access to justice, acknowledged that the
attempt to make a case against MMR with
taxpayers’ money was “not effective or
The total cost for the attack on the vaccine was
£14,053,856, plus Vat.
Following media campaigning, lawyers eventually
registered 1,600 claimants in the lawsuit. None
received any money.
This weekend Earl Howe, a Conservative party
health spokesman, called for a parliamentary
inquiry. “It’s astonishing,” he said. “This is
crying out for select committee scrutiny.”
Wakefield said in a statement that he had worked
on the lawsuit for nine years, charged at a
recommended rate, and gave money to charity.
“This work involved nights, weekends and much of
my holidays, such that I saw little of my family
during this time,” he said. “I believed and
still believe in the just cause of the matter
Document 1 | Document 2
More on MMR by Brian Deer
Copyright 2006 Times Newspapers Ltd.
This service is provided on Times Newspapers'
standard Terms and Conditions . Please read our
reproduce material from The Times, visit the
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Edited by - John Stone on 12/31/2006 02:47:36
Posted - 12/31/2006 :
Is there anywhere where anyone can respond to
Posted - 12/31/2006 :
circulated a statement a week ago which of
course the Sunday Times have not reported in any
"Sunday December 24th 2006
"Response by Dr Andy Wakefield to enquiries
about expert fees.
Thank you for your enquiry. I hope that the
points below will answer any questions you may
have about the issue of experts#146; fees in the
"1. I worked as an expert in the MMR class
action litigation for nearly 9 years. As
instructed, I charged for my services and this
was at an hourly rate recommended by the BMA
after consulting with them on this matter.
"2. I worked extremely hard on this very onerous
litigation because I believed and still believe
in the just cause of the matter under
investigation. This work involved nights,
weekends and much of my holidays such that I saw
little of my family during this time. The price
for standing by these children has been high
both for my family and my professional status.
"3. The money that I received was, after tax and
out of pocket expenses, donated to an initiative
to create a new center, in the first instance at
the Royal Free Hospital, for the care of
autistic children and those with bowel disease.
This intention was made clear, in writing, to
senior members of the medical school. The
initiative was unsuccessful at the Royal Free
but ultimately succeeded in the US.
"4. My role as an expert was declared as a
conflict of interest in relevant publications
(see references below) that discussed the
possible role of MMR vaccine intestinal disease
and autism and to journal editors in other
instances. I have referenced the relevant
publications below for your convenience.
"5. The costs judge has revised the sum payable
by nearly #8356;100,000 and I am happy to abide
by this ruling. He has done the same for other
experts and I am informed that this is common
practice in cases such as this. A substantial
part of this money was not paid to me in the
"6. My actions were at times taken in the best
interests of children potentially damaged by the
MMR vaccine. It was my earnest desire to
establish a centre of excellence for the care of
these children in the UK. Sadly, the political
climate in there made this impossible. I remain
dedicated to helping these children and
resolving the issue of whether vaccines are
involved in this disorder or not. I will not be
intimidated or coerced into stopping this work
Stott C et al Journal of American Physicians and
Wakefield AJ et al. Medical Veritas
Posted - 12/31/2006 : 20:44:30
much are the others paid (GPs, senior members of
DoH, pharmaceutical directors)? I'm fairly
confident that their basic pay - let alone
additional fees for advisory/consultancy
purposes - run into six figures. No doubt Brian
Deer's basic salary is well into 6 figures.
Typical hypocrisy from that lot - but I have
learnt to expect nothing less. Happy New Year
from a worn out person.
GUS THE FUSS
Posted - 01/01/2007 : 14:56:24
My plan of
1.Don’t buy The Times as this is the only paper
in the planet that will print Deers unhealthy
interest in Dr Wakefield.
2. Don’t vote Liberal Democrats as in dr Evan
Harris if this is what the party stands for I
wouldn’t want any involvement with them (I have
complained to the Party Chairman in the past
,concerning his duplicity but no response)
When we get them in court, which is meant to
happen 2007 -2008 Waters Kruas in America are
the leading law firm Autism/Mercury cases.This
pathetic dribble from Deer and the few others in
the UK with this unhealthy interest in Dr
Wakefield will stop. We were told last week by
the chairman of Waters Kraus, Andrew C Waters,
that Waters Kraus are not taking on any more
cases as they have that much evidence stacked
against big pharma it could go round the world
twice, just the time it takes getting them into
court, and this will happen with a result 2007
Nobody getting tired bring it on Deer...
Maybe someone should investigate whether Mr.
Deer is being paid privately to continue to
write these PR pieces for the vaccine
It certainly happened in America when
journalists were found to be accepting hundreds
of thousands of dollars to pretend to agree with
certain political views.
Is there no real investigative journalist that
reads this site, BIG ENOUGH!to look into this on
behalf of the civil rights of these children???I
know there are several but who is BIG ENOUGH!!!C
mon !!what a piece of fact just waiting to be
told!!The paper will be selling for the next 50
Edited by - GUS THE FUSS on 01/01/2007 22:29:18