Lancet retracts from research paper it published a decade ago

British medical weekly The Lancet yesterday formally retracted from the research paper it published

Last week, the UK General Medical Council said that Dr Andrew Wakefield had breached his professional duties. The GMC also ruled that Dr Wakefield had shown a "callous disregard" for children and acted "dishonestly" while he carried out his research. GMC is likely to strike him off the medical register.

Following this, the magazine said in a statement on its website that it accepted that Dr Wakefield had made false claims in his 1998 paper.

The original Lancet paper made just a cautious link that parents "associated" behavioural symptoms of their children with MMR, balanced by a critical editorial comment at that time. However, it was noticed that the publication caused vaccination rates to plummet, resulting in a rise in measles.

Editor Richard Horton said the journal now imposes tougher peer review on controversial papers, withholding those that are likely to be misinterpreted by the public.