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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 February, 2004, 20:19 GMT
MMR study doctor calls for probe
Dr Andrew Wakefield
Dr Andrew Wakefield has denied there was a conflict of interest
The doctor behind controversial research questioning the safety of the MMR jab has called for an investigation into claims his work was flawed.

Dr Andrew Wakefield made the call soon after the General Medical Council confirmed it would be interviewing him.

The editor of the Lancet, where the original research appeared, now says he regards it as "entirely flawed".

The MMR study prompted many parents to reject the three-in-one jab, even though most experts say it is safe.

Serious allegations have been made against me in relation to the provision of clinical care for children
Dr Andrew Wakefield

Last week Dr Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet, told the BBC he had discovered that the researchers had a conflict of interest.

On Saturday, Health Secretary John Reid urged the GMC to investigate "as a matter of urgency".

A spokeswoman for the GMC said on Sunday: "We are concerned by the allegations and will be looking to see what action - if any - may be necessary."

Dr Wakefield said: "I not only welcome this, I insist on it and I will be making contact with the GMC personally in the forthcoming week.

"Serious allegations have been made against me in relation to the provision of clinical care for children with autism and bowel disease, and the subsequent reporting of their disease."

'Dual role'

The Lancet launched an investigation into the way the study was carried out after it received an "allegation of research misconduct" from the Sunday Times.

The allegations do not cover the actual findings of the study.

They centre on a separate study also conducted by Dr Wakefield which was paid for by Legal Aid into whether there was evidence to support compensation claims by parents that their children had been harmed by MMR.

Some children were involved in both the trials.

Dr Wakefield told the Sunday Telegraph that he was standing by the findings.

"We have identified important illness in children and raised important questions about child health," he added.

London's Royal Free Hospital - where the research was carried out - backed Dr Wakefield in a statement on Saturday, said the newspaper.

The BBC's Sophie Hutchinson
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