Many of the stories here are in some way connected with medicine. The prime example is an award-winning series about a children’s vaccine, over which there was a decade-long alarm triggered by one man: British former doctor Andrew Wakefield. I was glad to expose him as dishonest and a research cheat, preying on vulnerable families. It was a gruelling fight, however, involving years of litigation (in both the United Kingdom and the United States) and public hearings, as he fought back with vexatious complaints.
Another is a series over an antibiotic known by many names, such as “Septrin” and “Bactrim”, which, although largely banned in the UK after my investigation during the 1990s, continues to cause a worldwide epidemic of deaths and suffering. For years, I’ve received emails from patients injured by the drug, or from relatives of those who’ve died. Although I’ve lately had to scale back my involvement, those pages are still among the most visited at briandeer.com.
Some of my work for television is noted here, including my hour-long Channel 4 Dispatches programmes, MMR - What They Didn’t Tell You, and The Drug Trial That Went Wrong. So is material from my participation in a Dateline special, reported by NBC anchor Matt Lauer and produced by Ami Schmitz. My favourite audio is here too: an hour-long 2011 "Econtalk" interview with Russ Roberts on my investigation of the Wakefield fraud. I think it shows something of who I am.
Other types of writing include samples of my features: particularly for The Sunday Times Magazine at the peak of its success. Social and technological change is throttling this kind of long-form journalism, and I know it’s not just me who misses its glories. Here, for example, is the story of Matthew Bell, who battled the food bug e-coli O157. And, written for the Mail on Sunday magazine, the tragedy of footballer Justin Fashanu.
The most ancient stories here are from my tenure covering social affairs for The Sunday Times, and where in the 1980s I pioneered that now-popular beat. Looking back, my own favourites are simple, short reports, such as, "Last days of the Spike", a feature about the closure of an institution for the homeless, and a page 1 news story, "Schools escape clause 28 in ‘gay ban’ fiasco", which upset a bunch of bigots.
I’m also quite proud of "Situation critical", which propelled the 1986 Disabled Persons Act through the UK parliament. These weren’t my “biggest” or most talked-about stories, but they captured what I care about, and what brought me into journalism.
Almost all the published material here is from The Sunday Times, for which I’ve edited or written practically all my career. Transferring from The Times almost three decades ago, I started as a sub-editor in the paper’s business section under the legendary newspaper executive Anthony Bambridge. And it was him who would later give me my break: arriving behind my chair one day with his deputy, Tony Rennell, ordering me to the newsroom, then in London's Gray's Inn Road, and making me a reporter. What I am.
So that’s my website: an eclectic selection from a life in journalism. It’s not a blog, and, apart from a few contributions to The Guardian, such as Death by denial, and business discussions, such as over Baltimore tipsters Stansberry & Associates Investment Research, as yet contains little comment.
I first took to this way of life as a form of social and political action. I believe that in truth lies freedom. From the feedback I get, I know it makes sense to some people. I hope it makes sense to you.