Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Doctor Who Sparked the MMR Debate Faces Misconduct Charge

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Doctor Who Sparked the MMR Debate Faces Misconduct Charge

Article excerpt

Byline: LECH MINTOWT-CZYZ;DR MARK PORTER

THE doctor whose research sparked the international scare over the safety of the MMR vaccine is to be charged with serious professional misconduct.

Andrew Wakefield is to be ordered in front of the General Medical Council after publishing a paper in The Lancet in 1998 that suggested a link between the jab and autism as well as Crohn's, a bowe l disease.

A sheet of preliminary charges accuses him of putting out "inadequately founded" research, of failing to obtain ethical committee approval, obtaining funding "improperly" and of subjecting children to "unnecessary and invasive investigations".

Dr Wakefield's study is held responsible by many doctors for a dramatic slump in the number of parents allowing their children to have the combined injection against measles, mumps and rubella.

Take-up of the vaccination has fallen to only 12 per cent of children in some areas of London, while city-wide little more than half are having the jab - putting an estimated 100,000 of London children at risk of infection.

In 2004 The Lancet withdrew the paper, with the editor declaring it "fatally flawed" after it emerged Dr Wakefield had been paid [pounds sterling]55,000 by lawyers for parents of children who claimed they had been damaged by the MMR vaccine to look for evidence

that could be used in legal action. GMC lawyers are working on the list of charges with a hearing expected next year. If found guilty of serious professional misconduct Dr Wakefield, 50, faces being struck from the medical register. The GMC decided to bring a case against the doctor contrary to normal procedures. It usually only brings charges when it receives a complaint, but in this case it acted without one, following a two-year investigation.

Why we all owe Wakefield a debt of thanks

COMMENTARY

DR ANDREW WAKEFIELD has had a spectacular fall from grace.

Eight years after sparking worldwide concern about the safety of the MMR vaccine, his research has been rejected by the journal that originally published it, and most of his fellow researchers have distanced themselves from his conclusions. …

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