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The Lancet removes MMR paper

The Lancet has removed a research paper which suggested a link between autism and the MMR vaccine from public view following a General Medical Council (GMC) ruling.

Editors said aspects of the controversial 1998 paper led by Dr Andrew Wakefield had been proved incorrect by a GMC fitness to practise panel last Thursday, which criticised the doctor's description of the study as misleading and irresponsible.

Thousands of parents stopped their children from having the triple measles, mumps and rubella vaccine after the research became public.

Contrary to an earlier investigation, the Lancet editors said the panel revealed several wrong claims in the study: "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 proven to be false.

"Therefore, we fully retract this paper from the published record."

Last week the fitness to practise panel said Dr Wakefield "abused his position of trust" during the research, put some children through superfluous tests and "showed a callous disregard" for their suffering.

The Lancet