Retracted Study Claiming Hydroxychloroquine Deaths Is Most Cited

According to an investigation, the most cited paper among the hundreds of withdrawn COVID-19 research papers was a retracted study linking the drug hydroxychloroquine to increased mortality.
Researchers in the field were still referring to the paper “Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis” long after it was retracted, with 1,360 citations at the time of data extraction.

According to the authors of the study, which included researchers from the University of Wollongong, Linköping University, and the Western Sydney Local Health District, “most researchers who cite retracted research do not identify that the paper is retracted, even when submitting long after the paper has been withdrawn.”
“This has serious implications for the reliability of published research and the academic literature, which need to be addressed,” the researchers said.

“Retraction is the final safeguard against academic error and misconduct, and thus a cornerstone of the entire process of knowledge generation.”

Scientists Question Findings

Over 100 medical professionals signed an open letter in which they raised ten major concerns about the paper.
This was due to the fact that there was “no ethics review” as well as “unusually small reported variances in baseline variables, interventions and outcomes,” and there was “no mention of the countries or hospitals that contributed to the data source and no acknowledgments to their contributions.”

Another source of concern was that the average daily doses of hydroxychloroquine were higher than the FDA-recommended amounts, resulting in skewed results.

They also discovered that the data claimed to be from Australian patients did not appear to match data from the Australian government.

The study eventually prompted the World Health Organization to temporarily halt the hydroxychloroquine trial on COVID-19 patients, as well as the UK regulatory body, the MHRA, to request a temporary halt in recruitment into all hydroxychloroquine trials in the UK.

France also changed its national recommendation for the drug in COVID-19 treatments, and all trials were halted.

According to Retraction Watch, 337 research papers on COVID-19 have been retracted as of now.
More retractions are expected as the investigation continues.

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