Essays‎ > ‎

The Great Pretender

Brian Deer's Wakefield Soap Opera



Oh yes I’m the great pretender (ooh ooh)

Pretending that I’m doing well (ooh ooh)

My need is such I pretend too much

Oh yes I’m the great pretender (ooh ooh)

Adrift in a world of my own (ooh ooh)


Too real is this feeling of make believe

Too real when I feel what my heart can't conceal

Buck Ram


With the growth of corporations and democracy there came a vast growth in corporate propaganda as a means of defending corporate interests against democracy.

Alex Carey


Without a story to explain ourselves we are nothing.

Tariq Miah



Speaking to a well regarded European writer the other day, I heard the words, 'But Deer came from nowhere, he is not a journalist of any note, he is not really a journalist is he?' hearing this and other remarks, it can only be described as unfortunate that neither those who question vaccine safety or those of us who have campaigned for vaccine damaged children have made no real attempt to investigate Brian Deer's contact with the pharmaceutical industry. On occasions I have been disturbed by the off-the-cuff allegations and ad hominem attacks made against Deer, this is not because he is not the most loathsome of characters but because without real investigations and properly constructed evidence we will never be able to free ourselves from the lingering foul smell which emanates from his presence in this conflict.

Although the rebuttal of Deer's latest two deceitful articles in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) have been interesting, few of them have added any new information about Deer or shed light upon the relationship which has existed between him and the conglomerate that is now GlaxoSmithKline. I believe that the key to Deer's continuing pathological character assassination of Dr Andrew Wakefield lies principally in his relationship with the original drug company the Wellcome Foundation and its partnering Trust, before the Trust was made independent and the Foundation was amalgamated first with Glaxo, then eventually merged as GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

I began my involvement with the parents of vaccine damaged children in 2006 knowing slightly more about Deer than many other people. In 1993, I published 'Dirty Medicine: Science, big business and the assault on natural health'. This book which took me five years to research and write told the story of the beginnings of the pharmaceutical, medical and allopathic lobby organisations in Britain and the US. These groups emerged in the late 1980s at the centre of the last great medical controversy over the Wellcome Foundations production and marketing of the drug AZT.

This conflict was perhaps even bigger than that presently being waged over vaccine damage. Brian Deer then writing for the Sunday Times, wrote two very critical articles about the safety of AZT and the lack of science that accompanied trials of the drug. The drug company, the Wellcome Foundation and it's massive grant giving partner, the Wellcome Trust, were powerful enough to rain relentless pressure on the Sunday Times and it's editor Andrew Neil to ensure that Deer was admonished for his radicalism and Deer appeared to be sent to the US for a period to cool off. Deer's return to the UK, appeared to coincide with a further authoritative attack on the Wellcome Empire, accompanied with a parallel attack on Septrin, the anti-bacterial a Wellcome drug that had caused many deaths and countless thousands of adverse reactions.

I interviewed Deer for Dirty Medicine because of his expose of the lack of safety data on AZT Deer was then a hero of the anti-AZT campaign. I found him a not unpleasant interviewee, though somewhat dour and cynical, perhaps as well a little scared as we all were facing the might of an increasingly immoral pharmaceutical sector whose motto might have been 'anything goes'. Deer also had about him that contained and dark look of the post-university new left that was on the rise in the late nineteen eighties and early nineties and which included groups like the now neo-liberal Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP).

I had no contact with Deer until after the publication of my book. On his return from the US, he broke off contact with me by way of an abusive phone call. I had the distinct impression then I had been relegated to his past life. What had actually changed for him was difficult to discern, although one thing became clear with time. Although his stance against the errors of pharmaceutical companies and bad drugs, appeared to be more or less solid, he had definitely enlisted in the Wellcome-backed and the National Health Service (NHS), Labour Party based generic campaign in favour of mass vaccination. Contrary to what most commentators seem to believe now, by the mid-nineteen nineties, long before the attempt to destroy Andrew Wakefield, Brian Deer with the aid of the Sunday Times, was deconstructing the case of vaccine damage claimants.

The following essay looks at Deer over the period between 1989 and 2007, a period that leaves serious unanswered questions about the direction of Deer's life and work. It is my hope that in the future an investigative journalist of some standing or an official inquiry will unravel in greater detail the enigma of Deer's relationship with the pharmaceutical industry. It might, however, be to our advantage to build upon the following essay when writing about him in the future, rather than reinvent the wheel again next time he pops his head out of his warren. Presently our 'movement' appears to lack cohesive and integrated knowledge about 'the enemy', upon which we might build. I would be happy to add more referenced information to this essay, so developing it as an authoritative source of information about Brian Deer. If they wish, anyone sending in substantial information to add to the essay, can be credited on the title page.

An Interest in Conflict: The 'conflict of interest' policy of the General Medical Council and the fitness to practice hearing of Dr Andrew Wakefield, Professor Walker-Smith and Professor Simon Murch.


The Great Pretender
Price: £3 GBP    Contact