'The Lancet' proves that politics can hurt medicine

During the Covid 19 Pandemic a few researchers decided that politics were allowed onto the hallowed ground of medical science. Opinion.

Joseph Frager, MD ,

Hydroxychloroquine
Hydroxychloroquine
Reuters

Politics and medicine do not mix. After two major studies on Covid 19 were retracted for faulty data, it once again proves that politics has no place in Medicine. Medicine has to be driven by science. It is all about saving lives. Politics should never be allowed to enter the arena. The British Journal “Lancet” has been a notorious bad actor, often injecting politics in its selection of articles for publication.

During the Covid 19 Pandemic, unfortunately, a few researchers decided that politics were indeed allowed onto the hallowed ground of medical science.

The editor in chief of the Lancet, Dr. Richard Horton, called the paper about the dangers of the use of Hydroxychloroquine in Covid 19 patients published in his journal a “fabrication” and a “monumental fraud”.

What he did not say and what the media failed to point out was that the paper was concocted using a unsubstantiated database called “Surgisphere” which supposedly obtained information from 1200 hospitals on six continents, to directly go up against President Trump’s assertions of Hydroxychloroqunine’s potential benefit in patient’s with Covid 19. President Trump often quoted a French study which supported his view.

The retracted study in the Lancet was fabricated precisely because of a dislike for President Trump. The other retracted study in the New England Journal of Medicine did not have the same motivation behind it. It was a fraudulent study done to show that patients on ACE inhibitors taken for Hypertension did not have a worse outcome from Covid 19 than those not on ACE inhibitors. I do not know the specific motivation for this paper but I would speculate that it was to help the Pharmaceutical industry. In either case, lack of adequate peer review led to the publication of fraudulent material.

The New England Journal of Medicine, I believe, was an “innocent bystander” in this process. On the other hand, the Lancet has a long history of being a “progressive” and Leftward publication.

In 2013 the Lancet published 35 different contributions which upon closer inspection revealed anti-Israel bias. Many say that the editor not only has a particular disdain for the State of Israel but for President Trump as well. The fraudulent Lancet article which was retracted went head to head up against President’s belief in Hydroxychloroquine as a useful agent against Covid 19. Politics blinded the writers from rigorous science. The editor should finally resign.

A group of 500 doctors including a number of Nobel prize winners accused the editor of the Lancet in 2015 of “grossly irresponsible and damaging editorial misuse of the Lancet for political purposes.” The charge was leveled for publishing an anti-Israel article during “Operation Protective Edge” in 2014. The group asked for a retraction of the piece (unlike the current article, the anti-Israel one was never retracted) claimed it “consists of numerous vicious and deliberately inflammatory falsehoods, omissions and abusive dishonesty, which has no place in any responsible publication.”

This was not the first time the Lancet published articles that were anti-Israel. In 2010, the Lancet employed active supporters of BDS as supposedly expert commentators on the Israeli-Arab conflict.

The goal of medicine today should be to save as many lives as we can against a dreadful and deadly pandemic. Publication of fabricated studies with a particular political twist is totally wrong and reprehensible. This should never be allowed to happen again.



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