Authors retract Lancet study indicating hydroxychloroquine was linked with higher death rates in patients with Covid-19

Several concerns were raised with respect to the veracity of data and analyses conducted by Surgisphere Corporation. The company would not transfer the full dataset for an independent peer review and three of the four authors therefore retracted it and issued an apology.

SPS commentary:

The observational study suggested use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine was not associated with any benefit in the treatment of patients with Covid-19, and could even be harmful. Based on these findings, the World Health Organisation placed a hold on clinical trials assessing the potential of hydroxychloroquine to treat patients with Covid-19.

The fourth author of the study, the chief executive of Surgisphere, declined to comment on the retraction.

Another study in the New England Journal of Medicine that used Surgisphere data and shared the same lead author (Cardiovascular Disease, Drug Therapy, and Mortality in Covid-19; 1 May 2020) has been retracted for the same reason.


The Lancet

Resource links:

NEJM study retraction

Reuters report