This just isn’t Andrew Wakefield’s week. Last year the General Medical Council (GMC) in the UK found Andrew Wakefield guilty of multiple counts of improper conduct. These include subjecting disabled children to invasive tests that were not in their clinical interest, placing children in a research program without first obtaining the safeguards of ethical approval, financial and commercial conflicts of interest as well as other breaches of ethical conduct.
Here is one example paragraph from the sanction of Mr. Wakefield:
With regard to nine of the eleven children (2,1, 3, 4, 6, 9, 5,12 and 8) considered by the Panel, it determined that Dr Wakefield caused research to be undertaken on them without Ethics Committee approval and thus without the ethical constraints that safeguard research. Ethical constraints are there for the protection both of research subjects and for the reassurance of the public and are crucial to public trust in research medicine. It was in the context of this research project that the Panel found that Dr Wakefield caused three of these young and vulnerable children, (nos. 3, 9 and 12) to undergo the invasive procedure of lumbar puncture when such investigation was for research purposes and was not clinically indicated. This action was contrary to his representation to the Ethics Committee that all the procedures were clinically indicated. In nine of the eleven children (2,1, 3, 4, 9, 5,12, 8 and 7) the Panel has found that Dr Wakefield acted contrary to the clinical interests of each child. The Panel is profoundly concerned that Dr Wakefield repeatedly breached fundamental principles of research medicine. It concluded that his actions in this area alone were sufficient to amount to serious professional misconduct.
The sanction includes the determination that Andrew Wakefield should have his name erased from the medical register:
Accordingly the Panel has determined that Dr Wakefield’s name should be erased from the medical register. The Panel concluded that it is the only sanction that is appropriate to protect patients and is in the wider public interest, including the maintenance of public trust and confidence in the profession and is proportionate to the serious and wide-ranging findings made against him.
Mr. Wakefield had a period of time to appeal to the High Court. I have word from Brian Deer, the journalist who first broke the story of the Mr. Wakefield’s misdeeds, that the time has passed and the erasure is now effective.
For those who want visual confirmation, here is the GMC’s registry page on Mr. Wakefield. (click to enlarge)