28/01/2010

MMR Scare Doc 'Unethical'

A doctor who first suggested MMR vaccinations could lead to autism has been rebuked by a national health watchdog.

Dr Andrew Wakefield acted "unethically" by publishing later discredited finding, which had prompted many parents to refuse the vaccine.

The General Medical Council ruled he had acted "dishonestly and irresponsibly" in doing his research.

The ruling, which is the result of a two-year long investigation, centred on Dr Wakefield's methods of research and not the actual findings.

It was alleged he carried out invasive tests on children which were against their best clinical interests and paid children £5 for blood samples at his son's birthday party.

The panel found the case was proven on both counts.

Regarding the blood tests it ruled Dr Wakefield had acted with "callous disregard for the pain they might suffer".

A decision on professional sanctions against the doctor will now be known more some months.

He had so far not been struck off the medical register.

(PR/BMcC)

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