'Lancet' withdraws MMR research
The controversial research paper that sparked an international scare over the MMR vaccine was yesterday withdrawn by 'The Lancet' medical journal, 12 years after it was published.
The journal said it had taken the decision following last week's preliminary verdict by a disciplinary panel of the General Medical Council (GMC).
The editors said: "It has become clear that several elements of the 1998 paper by Wakefield et al are incorrect."
The decision brings to a close one of the unhappiest chapters in medical research. The 1998 paper, based on 12 children, triggered a sharp fall in vaccination rates and years of speculation about the safety of MMR vaccine, despite the absence of confirmatory evidence.
'The Lancet' announced a partial retraction of the paper in 2004 after it emerged that Dr Wakefield had received payments for his research from the Legal Aid board which he had not declared.
In its judgement last week, the GMC panel said that the children were subjected to invasive investigations, which were not in their clinical interests and which lacked Ethics Committee approval for research.
Dr Wakefield and Professors John Walker-Smith and Simon Murch face being struck off the medical register if they are found guilty of serious professional misconduct at a later date. (© Independent News Service)