The Lancet, one of the world’s top medical journals, on [June 4] retracted an influential study that raised alarms about the safety of the experimental Covid-19 treatments chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine amid scrutiny of the data underlying the paper.
Just over an hour later, the New England Journal of Medicine retracted a separate study, focused on blood pressure medications in Covid-19, that relied on data from the same company [Surgisphere].
The retractions came at the request of the authors of the studies, published last month, who were not directly involved with the data collection and sources, the journals said.
“We can no longer vouch for the veracity of the primary data sources,” Mandeep Mehra of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Frank Ruschitzka of University Hospital Zurich, and Amit Patel of University of Utah said in a statement issued by the Lancet. “Due to this unfortunate development, the authors request that the paper be retracted.”
The Lancet study gained so much attention because it went further than other observational studies that had similarly found the drugs were not associated with improved outcomes for patients. The study, which was purportedly based on patient data from 671 hospitals on six continents, reported the drugs also corresponded to higher mortality.