Major, Major Scandal In Clinical Research

A few days ago I flagged that that big hydroxychloroquine study published in The Lancet was becoming a major and substantive controversy. The questions raised about it went well beyond critical questions of interpretation or how one structures a proper study or review to questions verging on accusations of fraud.

Today The Lancet officially retracted the study. This was followed a short time later by The New England Journal of Medicine retracting a separate study that was not about hydroxychloroquine but relied on data from the same company, Surgisphere.

Needless to say, this is a major scandal, possibly a major fraud perpetrated on two of the world’s most respected medical journals. It had immediate, real world impacts, halting on-going double blind studies on hydroxychloroquine. The Lancet study was withdrawn (I would think nominally) at the request of the authors not connected with Surgisphere. Sapan S. Desai, the owner and founder of Surgisphere was a listed author on both studies.

The world of medical research and publishing is one I have no real insight into. I’m sure many who have insight will be discussing this at some length. Suffice it to say the COVID epidemic has seen a dramatic rush of publication in advance of peer review, for I think obvious and good reasons. This was a peer reviewed, officially published study. But it seems highly likely that the understandable and largely salutary drive to move clinically relevant new information into print is tied in some way to this debacle.

Special thanks to TPM Readers BD and JB for helping me be on top of this story.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest Edblog
  • |
    August 11, 2022 4:22 p.m.

    Federal judge orders DOJ to confer with Trump lawyers and report to him by 3 PM tomorrow about how to…

  • |
    August 11, 2022 3:41 p.m.

    A new episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast is live! This week, Josh and Kate discuss stunning developments in Kansas…

  • |
    August 11, 2022 3:15 p.m.

    Two significant takeaways from Garland’s presser. Garland personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant and carry out the…

  • |
    August 11, 2022 2:20 p.m.

    We’re awaiting a statement from AG Merrick Garland currently scheduled for 2:30 PM eastern. Presumably this is about the incident…

Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: