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  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

    The Lancet has retracted the 12 year old paper that sparked an international crisis of confidence in the safety of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine when its lead author suggested a link between the vaccine and autism.

    Andrew Wakefield was found guilty by the General Medical Council last week of dishonesty and flouting ethics protocols.

    The UK regulator held that Dr Wakefield abused his position, subjected children to intrusive procedures such as lumbar puncture and colonoscopy that were not clinically indicated, carried out research that breached the conditions of ethics committee approval, and brought the medical profession into disrepute.

    In a statement published online (www.thelancet.com) the editors of the Lancet said: “Following the judgment of the UK General Medical Council’s Fitness to Practise Panel on Jan 28, 2010, it has become clear that several elements of the 1998 paper by Wakefield et al are incorrect, contrary to the findings of an earlier investigation.

    “In particular, the claims in the original paper that children were ‘consecutively referred’ and that investigations were ‘approved’ by the local ethics committee have been …

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