The Lancet, a prestigious medical journal which published the landmark study that claimed that Hydroxychloroquine is ineffective against the novel coronavirus, is finding itself in hot water after refusing to release the data behind the study.
According to Buzzfeed News, a group of around 180 scientists wrote a letter to the scientific publication after many claimed that they noticed a number of inconsistencies in the findings. The letter asked for the raw data behind the study to be analyzed by outside researchers.
However, The Lancet refused to release the figures -- a blatant violation of a pledge that the publication had signed about sharing all COVID-19 related information.
Doctors and scientists were particularly alarmed by the fact that the study's numbers related to Australian patients did not match those from the Australian government. Moreover, British newspaper The Guardian could not get confirmation from Australian health services that they had worked with or even provided data to The Lancet's study.
In addition, scientists noted that the research focused on doses of hydroxychloroquine that were substantially higher than the FDA-recommended amounts used in other studies.
The criticisms are particularly alarming because The Lancet's study had been used in dictating public policy. Following its publication, experiments conducted by World Health Organization and U.K. that centered around hydroxychloroquine were ended. In addition, use of the drug was banned in countries like France, Belgium, and Italy.
The backlash against hydroxychloroquine has been particularly damaging for researchers who still believe the drug -- which first gained fame after being touted by President Donald Trump -- could be effective.
"Many of us in the scientific community were just very angry at seeing a poorly written and executed study published in The Lancet, given loads of publicity, and then having a hugely negative impact on carefully planned clinical trials around the world," explained James Watson, a Thailand-based statistician with the University of Oxford's Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health. Watson was one of the main signatories of the letter.
In response to the criticism, The Lancet did correct some of its data, but maintained that its findings remained unchanged.
The unchanged conclusion states that the drug did not appear to help patients infected with COVID-19, and could even lead to cardiac problems.
"Everything points to a drug that has no efficacy," concluded Eric Topol, a cardiologist at the Scripps Research Translational Institute.
"There's no sign that it helps anyone," he added.
Topol is not the only doctor to express doubts about the drug. As was previously reported by The Inquisitr, Dr. Anthony Fauci has claimed that he believes hydroxychloroquine is "ineffective" against COVID-19.