Sen. Johnson Asks Medical Journals for Records on Retracted Studies

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.
December 16, 2021 Updated: December 16, 2021

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) in letters this week requested records from two prominent medical journalists regarding studies they retracted last year.

One study claimed that the anti-malarial hydroxychloroquine was linked to an increased risk of mortality among COVID-19 patients.

The findings of the study were widely circulated, as hydroxychloroquine drew many opponents after it was promoted by then-President Donald Trump.

But it was retracted by The Lancet in June 2020, about two weeks after it was published.

Researchers said Surgisphere, a Chicago-based company that employed one of the researchers who worked on the study, refused to share the dataset allegedly containing the records, prompting the other three authors to request a retraction.

The other study was published in May of last year by the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

Researchers said they found that taking certain blood pressure drugs did not appear to increase the risk of death among those with COVID-19.

The study was retracted about a month later at the behest of the researchers, who had also relied on data from Surgisphere.

Johnson noted that Dr. Eric Rubin, editor-in-chief of NEJM, said after the study was retracted that it shouldn’t have been published while Dr. Richard Horton, who holds the same position at The Lancet, said the paper his journal published was a “fabrication.”

“Although this fraudulent study was ultimately retracted, it is concerning and shameful that, in the midst of a pandemic, The Lancet published such a misleading paper on a potential early treatment for COVID-19,” Johnson wrote (pdf) to Horton.

He put a similar line in a letter to Rubin.

Johnson asked for all documents and communications regarding the studies by Jan. 4, 2022.

“We received Senator Johnson’s letter yesterday and are preparing a response,” a spokesperson for NEJM told The Epoch Times in an email.

The Lancet did not respond to a request for comment.

COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.