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In Spring 2020, early during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2 prominent studies that used a database from Surgisphere, a little-known company, were quickly retracted because of concerns about fraudulent data. One study1 purported to study the safety and efficacy of hydroxychloroquine for treating hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Published online in the Lancet on May 22, 2020, it was retracted on June 13, 2020.2 As of June 11, 2021, the study had an Altmetric attention score of 23 084. The second study3 claimed to investigate the association between cardiovascular disease, renin-angiotensin–aldosterone system inhibitor therapy, and COVID-19 outcomes. Published online May 1, 2020, in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), it was retracted on June 4, 2020.3 As of June 11, 2021, the study had an Altmetric attention score of 3727. We sought to evaluate the association of the widely publicized retraction4,5 with further citations of the NEJM study.3
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CME Disclosure Statement: Unless noted, all individuals in control of content reported no relevant financial relationships. If applicable, all relevant financial relationships have been mitigated.
Accepted for Publication: June 11, 2021.
Published Online: August 2, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.4112
Corresponding Author: Todd C. Lee, MD, MPH, Royal Victoria Hospital, 1001 Boulevard Décarie, Room E5.1820, Montréal, QC H4A3J1, Canada (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Author Contributions: Dr Lee had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.
Concept and design: Lee, McDonald.
Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: Lee, Senecal, Hsu.
Drafting of the manuscript: Lee, Hsu, McDonald.
Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: Lee, Senecal, McDonald.
Statistical analysis: Lee.
Administrative, technical, or material support: McDonald.
Supervision: Lee, McDonald.
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Drs McDonald and Lee were signatories on a public letter asking for retraction of the Surgisphere papers. Dr Lee reported research support from Fonds de Recherche du Quebec–Sante during the conduct of the study. No other disclosures were reported.
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