Source: The Gold Opinion
All it took for a safe, generic drug — listed for decades by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the drugs that should be immediately and universally available worldwide at all times — to be considered dangerous, was for President Trump to say “I happen to feel good about it.” Immediately the American media deemed hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) dangerous – which then had worldwide implications on the availability of a safe, generic drug that has been used billions of times.
On March 28 the FDA made it easier to prescribe HCQ through an “emergency use authorization (EUA) for hospitalized Covid patients.” This authorization was revoked June 15, although that sounds more dramatic than it actually is, since doctors still can prescribe any FDA approved drug, including HCQ.
The more interesting point is that the FDA called HCQ ineffective and risky based upon clinical trials that it turns out are highly questionable.
It so happens that the most famous clinical trials condemning HCQ were published in The Lancet and the NEJM (New England Journal of Medicine) and JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association). But soon after publication, The Lancet and the NEJM had to print embarrassing formal retractions because the data could not be verified. Now it is time for JAMA to do the same. There are at least three egregious errors.
First, the study has a table describing the patients, and any layperson can see that specific patients were cherry picked for a higher chance of a bad outcome. The “high-dose” (chloroquine) CQ group had virtually all of the more severe risk factors linked to higher mortality, including older age, race, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, kidney disease, high fever and more difficulty breathing. Just two examples of the cherry picking is that the “high-dose” CQ group was seven years older and 17.9% had heart disease compared to 0% in the younger group.
Even worse than cherry picking patients, would be giving toxic amounts of a medication. More than 30 years ago, the lethal dose of CQ was established to be 5 grams, and 4 grams is linked to very severe neurological and cardiovascular toxicity. Because CQ stays in a person’s body for a very long time, 1-2 months, doctors are cautious about the total amount used. The elderly, hospitalized, very ill patients in the high-dose group received 4.8 grams in just four days and 12 grams if they survived to the full ten days. Unsurprisingly so many people died in that group, that it had to be halted.
The third problem is that there is no proof within the JAMA study that an Ethics Committee had approved the study, which is a standard practice in scientific studies involving humans.
Because the only thing worse than junk science would be junk science heard round the world, renowned scientists demanded an immediate retraction of the study from JAMA. In a letter received by no less than 15 persons associated with the publication, more than one month ago, the scientists noted that JAMA missed or ignored the cherry picking, their concern that such excessively high dosages were so deadly that the study needed to be halted, and that there was an absence of the required ethics committee review.
The response by the Journal of the American Medical Association, the largest and most powerful organized medicine association in the world, was to deny any blame and to refuse to retract the study. JAMA disregarded the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki on the Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects, and then they denied their own misconduct in disseminating flawed information to millions of doctors and media outlets.
JAMA gave this response even while knowing that the Brazilian Ministry of Justice is formally investigating the cause of deaths of so many elderly, debilitated, hospitalized, patients who died while being given up to 2.5x lethal dosages of a medication.
In response to these flawed NEJM and The Lancet and JAMA studies, the WHO ordered countries to stop using HCQ/CQ and the EU banned HCQ for Covid-19 trials. Because make no mistake, when the three most powerful medical journals in the world have their voices amplified by the American media, the worldwide response is fast and furious. But when the media doesn’t like the science, the public is kept in the dark.
Just one example: last week the world’s most populous democracy, the country of India, home to > one billion people, pre-published that prophylactic HCQ reduces the chances that healthcare workers will get infected.
What are the odds that the #1, #2, and #3 medical journals in the world independently, but virtually simultaneously, published flawed studies that happened to dovetail with a specific media narrative?
It seems calculating the odds of such a trifecta would depend upon which scientist you ask.
But the odds of you hearing about such a trifecta would depend upon where you live.