Last week, the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine retracted major studies that found an antimalarial drug provided no benefit as a treatment for Covid-19 patients—studies that had been widely covered and cited in media and academia worldwide.
What factors led to the retraction and invalidation of the studies? They were conducted by a small private lab that refused to share the full data set on which the study was based with the publications, and other researchers raised serious concerns about the thoroughness of the studies’ peer review process.
This scenario underscores a fundamental scientific principle: the truth can’t be bought, sold, or manipulated.
It is fortunate that the studies were retracted early in the game. Had they not been, the search for the truth about the effectiveness of a particular drug as a treatment for Covid-19 may have been stopped in its tracks. This now allows more thorough and transparent research projects which will yield more accurate results to continue.
Equally important, the flawed study did not make its way into courtroom and form the basis of a misguided lawsuit and potentially unjustified damage award against the drug manufacturer, hospital, or physician. Unfortunately, less-than-accurate scientific studies—produced by both plaintiffs and defendants—are the focal point of lawsuits playing out in courtrooms daily across the country.
The cost of those lawsuits—both in terms of defense costs and jury awards—is staggering. The mass litigation system affects not only the companies and individuals that are sued (targeting those with the deepest pockets), but the employees that work for them and the millions of consumers who pay higher prices on a wide range of products and services to cover the cost of potential lawsuits.
The Center for Truth in Science seeks to contribute to a healthy, fair, and balanced judicial system in which liability and damage awards are based on fact-based science by studying existing research on scientific issues that are the subject of legal disputes in an objective, transparent, and unbiased way.
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