“Expression of Concern” Issued About Data Cited in Two Major COVID-19 Studies

Recent statements issued by the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) and the Lancet share significant concern related to the credibility of two major studies evaluating the safety and efficacy of hydroxychloroquine to prevent and treat COVID-19. According to Modern Healthcare, “important scientific questions” have been raised about the quality of data used in both the NEJM and Lancet papers, which were independently published but used the same source.

STAT reports that more than 180 scientists suggest the Lancet paper’s statistical analysis and lack of transparency could be problematic. In response to apprehension among the scientific community, both journals have issued an “expression of concern” and are verifying the integrity of the information. They will communicate these findings once available.

Based on the data, which was provided by Surgisphere Corp, the Lancet study in question concludes that hydroxychloroquine “did not correspond with improved outcomes for patients” and is “associated with higher mortality” in COVID-19 patients. The NEJM paper links use of hydroxychloroquine in infected individuals with possible “cardiac toxic effects and overall adverse outcomes.”

Experts note that the situation is unsettling because these publications are considered reliable and held in high regard by scientists. Additionally, the results have informed the World Health Organization’s (WHO) decision to pause its study of hydroxychloroquine. Becker’s Hospital Review says that WHO maintains the drug is generally still safe for patients with malaria or autoimmune diseases.

MLMIC advises policyholders to review all updates related to use of hydroxychloroquine. Additionally, MLMIC has assembled a number of other critical resources to support New York physicians as they navigate the pandemic. This information, which includes the latest developments in medicine and government, can be accessed on our website.