Leading health experts reject unproven treatments touted before Senate committee


Senate hearing spreads misinformation

hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee tomorrow will feature witnesses who will cast doubt on vaccinations for COVID-19 and who will promote the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 despite the lack of evidence for its effectiveness. In advance of the hearing, 47 leading physicians, scientists, and public health experts have signed a public statement rejecting unproven treatments for COVID-19 and affirming their commitment to the scientific process.

Tomorrow's hearing is a follow-up to an earlier hearing on November 19 that also peddled misinformation about hydroxychloroquine, mounted attacks on the credibility of public health experts, and undermined trust in medical science and the treatment approval process.

“The latest attempts to promote hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment are proof of the danger in ignoring evidence and dismissing science,” wrote the physicians and scientists. “After months of testing beginning in the early days of the pandemic, no evidence has emerged that the drug improves outcomes in infected persons or those at risk for infection and some studies have concluded it causes more harm than good. Yet patients continue to demand it from their doctors because of false information spread by politicians, advocates, and others peddling it as a cure-all. Indeed, continued advocacy of this or any unproven, even dangerous, approach feeds confusion and skepticism about the scientific process and the entire medical community, to the point that some patients decline effective treatments or vaccines. Such rhetoric can also lead to broader negative consequences, like price-hikes and shortages of the drug for patients who depend on it for its FDA-approved uses.”

The letter was spearheaded by Drs. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health; Aaron S. Kesselheim of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Peter G. Lurie, former FDA official and president of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Signatories to the statement include Drs. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine; Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute; Steve E. Nissen, Chief Academic Officer at the Cleveland Clinic Heart and Vascular Institute; and former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders.

Contact Info:  Contact Jeff Cronin (jcronin[at]cspinet.org) or Richard Adcock (radcock[at]cspinet.org).