The 12th Invest in ME Research Conference June, 2017, Part 2
MEMum presents the second article in a series of three about the recent 12th Invest In ME International Conference (IIMEC12) in London.
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Where Wessely's funding comes from

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by Gerwyn, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. starryeyes

    starryeyes Senior Member

    Bay Area, California
    Oh yeah. I know. I experience all that too. It's a real bummer.
  2. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

    Rebecca, those emails are really unusual for him. Normally they are not formated, have no punctuation and are badly misspelled. Maybe he has his secretary do some for him that time?
  3. justinreilly

    justinreilly Senior Member

    NYC (& RI)
    Well yes, Linbury Trust has done much good for the recognition of "CFS", as they say, much in the same way that, according to Wikipedia, Wessely is a hero in establishing biomedical underpinnings of ME for which he was awarded a medal by the Royal College of Physicians.
  4. justinreilly

    justinreilly Senior Member

    NYC (& RI)
    I like the appropriate use of the word scheme, which in the US (unlike Britain) means a plan to commit fraud.
  5. justinreilly

    justinreilly Senior Member

    NYC (& RI)

    I agree that if Wessely denies any association with PRISMA and there is, other than what he wrote in the email (rather modest association 10 years ago) that we can't and shouldn't say there is one without evidence.

    He also denies the UNUM connection (other than a couple of unrelated talks).

    So where does that leave us with him and connections to insurance cos?

    Re: Peter White- didn't know he was CMO of SwissRe- obviously a huge conflict of interest.
  6. Dx Revision Watch

    Dx Revision Watch Owner of Dx Revision Watch


    My response is the same now as it was at the beginning of this thread - that firstly, when publishing on the internet or via any other means, I would not be prepared to make claims about any individual that I could not, if challenged, back up with documentary evidence.

    Secondly, that a 2007 document which cites a 2001 document, which presumably relied upon links to PRISMA Health website content which had been accessible in 2001, but has since been superceded by new or revised content, cannot be relied upon in 2007 or in 2010, if no contemporary or historic evidence can be furnished that contradicts whatever written statement an individual has issued in response to written requests for clarification of the status of their past and current relationship with a specific organisation or company.

    One might argue that Wessely's influence is ubiquitous.

    Or, that his having advised on treatment programmes for PRISMA Health, circa 2001, might continue to influence the nature of treatment programmes associated with PRISMA Health in whichever countries they are still operating, and to influence PRISMA Health's perceptions of the illness.

    But I would never claim, myself, that "Wessely [still] works for PRISMA".

    And I would not claim that Prof Wessely "worked for" or was associated with any other organisation or company, unless I had solid documentary evidence to support this.

    It's as simple as that.

    The content of the email that Prof Wessely sent to Holmsey and the content of the email that oerganix has just published provide written evidence of Prof Wessely's position on his past and current association with PRISMA Health congruent with what a number of us within the UK understood him to have said in the past.

    If other individuals want to assert otherwise, then the onus is on them to provide evidence to support whatever claim they are making.

    For several years, I was involved in an investigative project. The project collated a considerable amount of documentary evidence. When reports and updates were published and when dossiers were provided to various agencies with an interest in the project, everything stated could be backed up by documentary evidence provided by contacts or obtained through our own researches, or supported by first hand written accounts and statements or by taped interviews. Information provided by third parties which could not be verified had to be left out.

    And that's how I approach everything. I publish under my own name and I cannot risk working in any other way.

    Below, I have collated some reference sources around disclosures of COIs:

    Prof Simon Wessely:

    Clarification from Prof Wessely on interests in PRISMA Health

    25 April 2010


    Prof Peter Denton White

    *Disclosure from MRC website as member of the MRC CFS/ME Expert Panel:

    Professor Peter White (Accessed 27.04.10)

    Personal Remuneration (including employment, pensions, consultancies, directorships, honoraria etc.) [Please identify organisation and category e.g. Wellcome Trust (Pension)]

    Consultation work for:

    Department of Work and Pensions
    Swiss RE Re-insurance Company

    Shareholdings and Financial Interests in Companies [please see guidance notes, para 2, for thresholds]


    Research Income during current session [over 50k per grant]

    3 MRC Grants
    1 Barts and London Charity Foundation

    Major academic collaborators [national and international]

    Edinburgh University
    Oxford University
    Kings College
    Royal Free Trust
    Frenchay NHS Trust, Bristol
    University of Chicago
    Centre for Disease Control, Atlanta

    Un-remunerated involvement with and membership of medical, bio-medical, pharmaceutical, healthcare provision or science or health policy/communication and similar activities/organisations

    RSM – Royal Society of Medicine
    BNPA - British Neuropsychiatry Association
    ICPM – The International College of Psychosomatic Medicine
    RCP - (London) (Royal College of Physicians)
    RCPsych - Royal College of Psychiatrists

    Political/pressure group associations


    Any conflicts of interests that may arise out of any known immediate family [see Declaration of Interest Policy para 14 for definition of immediate family) involvement in any of the above. Please indicate which section (1-6) above applies e.g. 1. Oxford University (family)]



    APA DSM5 Work Group Member Disclosure Report

    Biosketch and Disclosure of Interests

    or - Disclosure - 1-11-10.pdf

    Michael Sharpe (Accessed 27.04.10)

    Professor of Psychological Medicine


    Number 10 e-Petition

    In February 2010, the Office of the Prime Minister responded to a Number 10 e-Petition. I did not promote this e-Petition on my websites because the wording of the petition contained misconceptions - the "Gibson Inquiry" was not undertaken by a group of parliamentarians that had the status of an "All Party Parliamentary Group" and I am not willing to promote the report that the "Gibson" panel e-published as I consider it to be a flawed and unfit for purpose document.

    The response states:

    "Professor White has provided his independent medical expertise to the insurance industry..."

    Now if readers consider that the Office of the Prime Minister should be informed that it failed to record Prof Peter White's consultancy work for Swiss RE Re-insurance Company, by name, and that it should have noted all other insurance companies with which Prof White has been associated, or for which he has acted as a consultant, then I suggest that they take this up with the Office.

    (I cannot confirm, however, what Prof White's title is in relation to Swiss RE, ie, whether he might correctly be referred to as "CMO of Swiss RE". So that would need to be verified, if a reliable reference has not aleady been cited within this thread, or within another thread on this forum, or elsewhere.)


    "The All Party Parliamentary Group’s Gibson Inquiry into ME in 2006 came to the conclusion that it was highly inappropriate for psychiatrists such as Simon Wessely and Peter White et al to act as advisor’s on illnesses like ME CFS for the Government and the DWP while working as consultants for the medical insurance industry for companies such as UNUM Provident. The insurance industry have a clear vested interest in classifying such illnesses as psychiatric conditions (despite the WHO classification of ME as a neurological condition ICD 10 G93.3) since they have to pay out less on policies.

    The recommendations of the Gibson Inquiry called for an appropriate standards body to be set up to investigate these clear and alarming vested interests. This recommendation seems to have disappeared in a puff of smoke?

    We the undersigned call for a immediate public inquiry into these inappropriate and blatant conflicts of interest!

    Dave Loomes, the Petition Creator"

    Petition update, 05 February 2010

    The Prime Minister’s Office has responded to that petition. The response can be viewed here and is also appended

    Response published Friday 5 February 2010


    Professors Peter White and Simon Wessely hold Chairs in Psychological Medicine at London University. They have an international reputation in the clinical management of and research into several medical subjects, which include CFS/ME. As such, many organisations including government Departments will draw on their expertise. These doctors have been asked to provide factual clinical information about medical conditions and have no interest in the outcome of state benefit decisions or those made by the insurance industry. They have an ethical obligation to provide advice to the best of their knowledge and the Government is confident that they have done this in their advice to Departments.

    Professor White has advised DWP in the development of guidance for Disability Living Allowance Decision Makers in a number of psychiatric conditions. He has also provided medical advice on CFS/ME and other related medical conditions. In addition to Professor White, DWP has also consulted with other medical experts with an interest in this condition including a rheumatologist, immunologist, occupational therapist, rehabilitation specialist, and physiotherapist. The guidance was also reviewed and discussed extensively with ME charities, welfare rights groups and their medical advisers who provided many helpful comments, which were included in the guidance wherever possible.

    Professor White has provided his independent medical expertise to the insurance industry to help them to understand the medical issues when considering developing policies and deciding claims. As far as UNUM is concerned he has only ever attended one meeting organised by UNUM several years ago, but only as an independent specialist. This involvement in no way compromises the expert medical advice given to the Department, and his insurance consultancy work has always been known to the Department.

    Professor Simon Wessely has not been involved in the development of CFS/ME guidance but has advised with guidance developed for some psychiatric conditions. He has served as a member of Dame Carol Black’s working group on employment. As far as UNUM is concerned Professor Wessely has not given advice, but has spoken at two UNUM sponsored medical meetings."

    [Extract ends]


    Additionally, Prof Wessely contributed an article to the 2007 UNUM Provident CMO's Annual Report:

    Mind over Matter – Exploring the issues of Mental Ill Health. Chief Medical Officer’s Report 2007

    Html version here:

    Article: Why and When do Doctors Collude with Patients? - Professor Simon Wessely - Director King's Centre for Military Health Research.


    Here again are two reference sources confirming that Prof Wessely was, in 2001, on the Supervisory Board of PRISMA Health and an upaid adviser to PRISMA Health.

    These archive pages from a PRISMA Health website that had listed Prof Wessely as a member of the Supervisory Board in 2001 no longer appear to be accessible online or on the Way Back Machine, but I have obtained a copy of the text from a trusted source close to Hooper/Williams which they held on file, with the original URL for the archived text:

    The text from the 2001 PRISMA Health web page reads:

    Supervisory Board


    "Prof. Dr. Simon Wessely, British, is regarded as a world leading expert
    in the field of medically unexplained illnesses. He has been publishing
    extensively on chronic fatigue and is leading, among other things, the
    Chronic Fatigue Unit at the King’s College in London."

    Disclosure from a journal paper from September 2001:

    Source: Journal of the American Medical Association
    Vol. 286, #11
    Date: September 19, 2001


    "Author/Article Information

    Author Affiliation:
    Department of Psychological Medicine, Guy's King and St
    Thomas's School of Medicine and Institute of Psychiatry, London, England.

    Corresponding Author and Reprints: Simon Wessely, MD, Department of
    Psychological Medicine, Guy's King and St Thomas' School of Medicine, 103
    Denmark Hill, London, England SE5 8AF (e-mail:

    Financial Disclosure: Dr Wessely serves as an advisor for treatment programs
    and research opportunities for PRISMA, a private company that arranges
    rehabilitation services. Dr Wessely receives no payment for this position, is
    not a shareholder, and has no financial interest in the company."

    *Note that the link on this page of the MRC website:

    ‘Declarations of Interest’

    appears to be broken. If you wish to access the individual pages which contain the DoI for each member of the MRC CFS/ME Expert Panel, I have links for all DoIs on this page of ME agenda website:


    Dr Charles Shepherd
    Dr Derek Pheby
    Dr Esther Crawley
    Dr Jonathan Kerr
    Professor Anthony Pinching
    Professor Hugh Perry
    Professor Ian Kimber
    Professor Malcolm Jackson
    Professor Peter White
    Professor Philip Cowen
    Professor Stephen Holgate
    Sir Peter Spencer
  7. Dx Revision Watch

    Dx Revision Watch Owner of Dx Revision Watch

    I've asked this several times, but could a mod or the initial thread poster please correct the spelling of Prof Wessely's name?
  8. jace

    jace Off the fence

    Suzy, I've used the triangle/exclamation button at the bottom of your post to forward your request to the mods.
  9. Dx Revision Watch

    Dx Revision Watch Owner of Dx Revision Watch

    Thank you jace.

  10. Otis

    Otis Señor Mumbler

    OK, the thread is renamed as requested. It's more of an admin (that's me) thing, but I try to read the reported threads for this kind of stuff.

  11. Dx Revision Watch

    Dx Revision Watch Owner of Dx Revision Watch

    Thanks, Otis.

  12. Dx Revision Watch

    Dx Revision Watch Owner of Dx Revision Watch


    Similarly, I would not claim that Prof Wessely advises the use of lithium in some cases of CFS or ME, based on a paper published 20 odd years ago.

    In the absence of more recent evidence of Prof Wessely's views on the prescribing of various types of antidepressant, all that can be said, in my opinion, is that a paper co-authored by Prof Wessely and published in 1990 had reported:

    There is no doubt that at least half of CFS patients have a disorder of mood. The management of affective disorders is an essential part of the treatment of CFS/ME. Numerous trials attest to the efficacy of tricyclic antidepressants in the treatment of fatigue states. Patients who fail to respond should be treated along similar lines to those proposed for treatment-resistant depression. Adding a second antidepressant agent, especially lithium, may be beneficial. The chronic fatigue syndrome myalgic encephalomyelitis or postviral fatigue. S Wessely PK Thomas. Recent Advances in Clinical Neurology, 1990: pp 85-131.

    It may be the case that Prof Wessely still recommends x or y or z antidepressant in CFS patients but I am not familiar with his current views on this issue and therefore I cannot assert with any confidence that he "advises the use of lithium".

    This is not being pedantic but reflects my unwillingness to rely on documentary evidence which isn't up-to-date.
  13. Angela Kennedy

    Angela Kennedy

    Essex, UK
    Puts me in mind of a recent Mariah Carey video!

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