Studies retracted: Two studies in the New England Journal of Medicine and the Lancet have been retracted because they relied on a Surgisphere database, which has come under scrutiny. The NEJM study examined the relationship between hypertension drugs and mortality in COVID-19 patients, while the Lancet study looked at whether hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine were effective COVID-19 treatments. Three of the authors of the Lancet article say that Surgisphere declined to transfer the full dataset and other material to a team of independent reviewers.
Retraction—Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis
several concerns were raised with respect to the veracity of the data and analyses conducted by Surgisphere Corporation and its founder and our co-author, Sapan Desai, in our publication. We launched an independent third-party peer review of Surgisphere with the consent of Sapan Desai to evaluate the origination of the database elements, to confirm the completeness of the database, and to replicate the analyses presented in the paper.
Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis.
Lancet. 2020; (published online May 22.)
This is the article that the New England Journal of Medicine retracted.
So the articles were retracted due to the inability to verify the data by third party reviewers. What are we to make of this? There is still no good evidence of the benefit of treating patients with Covid-19 with hydroxychloroquine. There is no recommendation to take it outside of a clinical trial of which there a number that are still ongoing. The WHO recently announced that is has resumed it’s clinical trial which it had paused based on the concerns raised by The Lancet article.
Here is a link to the most recent update on drug trials for Covid-19.