In a column that dealt with false news and misinformation in health care, Margaret Sullivan of The Washington Post began her story on Friday, July 31, by lashing out at alleged “non-prestigious” doctors telling dangerous falsehoods about hydroxychloroquine as the miracle cure for the CCP Virus.
She added to the list of media outlets that seem to make political use of the drug, criticizing it only because it was recommended by President Trump and used flawed scientific arguments.
According to other media such as the Real Clear Politics, Sullivan, and The Washington Post are continuously proclaiming dangerous falsehoods about the drug.
Specifically, on May 15, the Post offered a severe warning in a headline, “Trump’s Drug Promoted as Solution to Coronavirus (CCP Virus) Increasingly Linked to Deaths,” the footnote said that hydroxychloroquine’s effectiveness in treating the CCP Virus is inadequate and that the drug is inherently unsafe.
The note describes a drug study of U.S. Veterans patients hospitalized with the CCP Virus on April 21, 2020. According to the study, a high death rate was found in those taking the drug hydroxychloroquine. But this was a study later recognized as flawed because it was a tiny sample that was not representative and mainly because the drug was given to the sickest patients who were already dying due to their age and severe pre-existing conditions.
According to Real Clear Politics, the study used as evidence a report published on a medical website, not peer-reviewed. It specifically warns that published studies should not be reproduced in the media as proven information.
Other media also used the study in question with the same goal of using hydroxychloroquine as an excuse to criticize President Trump for his comments and recommendations.
The Washington Post attacked again on May 22, with a new article. This time, the media hype was based on an alleged “large study” just published in The Lancet on the inefficiency of hydroxychloroquine in treating the CCP Virus and even talks about the drug’s terrible adverse effects. There was a significant problem. The study referred to in The Lancet was fraudulent, and had to be quickly retracted, but the damage was done.
Meanwhile, a growing stream of prestigious scientists based on proven studies promote that when hydroxychloroquine is given early to a sick patient with the CCP Virus before it’s had time to multiply beyond control, it proved to be highly effective. When administered in conjunction with antibiotics such as azithromycin or doxycycline and zinc as a nutritional supplement, it was even more effective.
On May 27, Dr. Harvey Risch, professor of epidemiology at Yale and director of the Laboratory of Molecular Cancer Epidemiology, published a paper in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the world’s leading epidemiology journal. He analyzed five studies that demonstrated clear and significant benefits for patients treated with the drug in question.
In the face of so much evidence, the inevitable question is, why?
Risch, wrote in Newsweek magazine, that there are two reasons.
First, he argues, the drug has become highly politicized. It is seen as a marker of political identity on both sides of the political spectrum, which is a real mistake. For in medicine, we must judge this drug strictly according to science, and politics should not intervene.
Second, the drug has not been used correctly in many studies. Hydroxychloroquine has shown great success when used early in high-risk people, but, as you would expect from an antiviral, much less success when used late in the course of an illness.