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Dr Wakefield under investigation by GMC

Dr Andrew Wakefield, the doctor who controversially suggested a link between the MMR

vaccine and autism, is under investigation by the GMC.

He could face a series of charges including publication of inadequately founded research, failure to gain ethical committee approval and use of improper funding.

If found guilty of misconduct, Dr Wakefield faces being struck off the medical register.

News of the investigation has thrust the MMR controversy back into the public eye, but GPs said it could also provide them with valuable ammunition in persuading patients to disregard Dr Wakefield's research.

The investigation follows allegations in 2004 that Dr Wakefield had failed to declare in his infamous Lancet paper that he had received £55,000 in funding from lawyers investigating whether parents had a case for damages over the MMR vaccine.

The paper's subsequent withdrawal is believed to have prompted the investigation, which the GMC said was on-

going, with no date set for a hearing.

Dr Rob Barnett, a GP in Liverpool and secretary of Liverpool LMC, said the news was 'exceptionally helpful' for GPs when advising parents on vaccinations for their children in the future.

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