Open Letter by U.S. Doctors: JAMA Ivermectin Study Is Fatally Flawed

Open Letter by U.S. Doctors: JAMA Ivermectin Study Is Fatally Flawed

A group of dedicated physicians recently came together to send an open letter to the medical journal JAMA. Their purpose: to declare that the recent Ivermectin study published in JAMA was fatally flawed. Note it was this study that suddenly triggered the interest of the mainstream media, from the New York Times to CNN. Prior to this study dozens of clinical trials conducted all over the world that generated positive findings were utterly and completely ignored.  TrialSite shares this recent letter.

We the undersigned physicians present this letter to call attention to multiple, integral flaws in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s recently published paper “Effect of Ivermectin on Time to Resolution of Symptoms Among Adults With Mild COVID-19”[1]. Above all, the data reported do not support the authors’ conclusion that ivermectin is ineffective as a treatment for mild COVID-19. 

The study’s flaws span subject population, design, execution and controls. The small sample size (n = 400) had a median age of 37 and a BMI of 26, making them extremely low risk for COVID-19 hard endpoints. Faced with this low-relevance study group, the study authors improperly changed primary endpoint midway, moving the main endpoint to full symptom resolution by day 21. This self-reported subjective endpoint, obtained through telephone survey, is not credible for avoiding nondifferential nullward bias of the results. 

We note other major errors in study conduct. The authors incorrectly administered ivermectin on an empty stomach, reducing drug bioavailability in lung tissue, the critical drug target, by a factor of roughly 2.5. Additionally, ivermectin is readily available over-the-counter in Colombia, where sales have been ubiquitous (1.6 doses per COVID-19 case) in Cali during the study period.[2] Lack of serum testing in the study prevented identification of subjects who may have used the drug at intervals longer than the study lookback. 

Contrary to the authors’ stated conclusion, the findings suggest lower rates of disease progression, hospitalization, ICU admission, and mortality with ivermectin, which might have been confirmed to be statistically significant with a larger sample and more rigorous study design.

Indeed, notwithstanding these limitations, the available data indicate a 9% faster daily symptom resolution, which when generalized to large populations would have a meaningful impact.[3]

The severe weaknesses of this study make it uninformative about whether ivermectin is beneficial in early COVID-19 treatment. Yet, the authors misleadingly conclude that their findings “do not support the use of ivermectin for treatment of mild COVID-19”, as if they had enough quality data to make that case, which they do not. 

Physicians have a solemn duty to care for patients, and randomized controlled trials can provide valuable information. But, as is the case here, they can also be flawed and must therefore always be weighed within the totality of evidence in order to provide the most appropriate patient care. 

Over the past year, many government agencies, academic journals, the broader media, and medical associations have departed from historic norms and elevated the status of randomized controlled trials. Such trials are seemingly presented as the only valid basis for making clinical recommendations about COVID-19 treatment, no matter how flawed. This trend has severely hindered the ability of physicians to use clinical experience and observational trials to offer their patients guidance on early treatment for this still not well-understood infection.

We oppose this fixation on randomized controlled trials at the expense of other clinical and scientific evidence and urge medical policymakers to restore balance to the practice of medicine.

Physicians must be free to use all appropriate methodologies in determining the best approach to COVID-19, and to other conditions underlying health disparities throughout our country. 

Respectfully, 

Reem Abu-Sbaih DO, Greenvale, NY
Charles C. Adams MD, Ringgold, GA
Susan Allen MD, Appleton, WI
Miguel Antonatos MD, Chicago, IL
Alan Bain DO, Chicago, IL
Robert J. Beckman DO, Sault Ste. Marie, MI
Karam Bhalla MD, Corrales, NM
Marsha Y. Blakeslee DO, Severna Park, MD
Kathleen A. Boyls MD, Broken Arrow, OK
Robert C. Bransfield MD, Red Bank, NJ
Peter R. Breggin MD, Ithaca, NY
Kelly Busby DO, Cortez, CO
Andrew L. Buscemi DO, Parkton, MD
Carrie Cannon MD, Orlando, FL
Wesley Allen Carr Jr. MD, Anderson, SC
R. L. Chilton III MD, Austin, TX
David B. Clark MD, Jackson, MO
Teryn B. Clarke MD, Newport Beach, CA
Stan Crown MD, St. Louis, MO
Anthony M. D’Agostino MD, Naples, FL
Parvez Dara MD, New York, NY
Mary L. Davenport MD, El Sobrante, CA
Stephen M. Davidson DO, Phoenix, AZ
John W. Day MD, Austin, TX
Franklin O. De La Cruz MD, Bardstown, KY
John R. Diggs Jr. MD, Monson, MA
Jeffrey Hall Dobken MD MPH, Valhalla, NY
Larry Doss MD, Lancaster, OH
Alieta Eck MD, Piscataway, NJ
John Eck MD, Piscataway, NJ
W. Benjamin Edwards MD, Lubbock, TX
Susan Tillman Elliott MD, Washington, DC
Edward Elmer MD, Pleasanton, TX
George Fareed MD, Brawley, CA
Angelina Farella MD, Webster, TX
Umbrine Fatima MD, Clarence, NY
Harold G. Felter Jr. MD, Corpus Christi, TX
Patricia L. Foster MD, Boulder, CO
Laszlo Galffy MD, Los Angeles, CA
Scott Glickman DO PhD MPH, Las Vegas, NV
Russell S. Gonnering MD, Milwaukee, WI
Irene Goranitis MD, Dedham, MA
Karladine Graves DO, Kansas City, MO
Joseph Guarino MD MPH, Reidsville, NC
Laura Hammons MD, Gallup, NM
David L. Hartsuch MD, Bettendorf, IA
Sabine Hazan MD, Ventura, CA
Vernon J. Hershberger MD, Akron, OH
Joseph N. Holmes MD, Salisbury, NC
Jane Lindell Hughes MD, San Antonio, TX
Corey Hunt MD, Newberry, SC
Jose Iglesias DO, West Orange, NJ
George Isajiw MD, Darby, PA
Jan Iwata DO, Chicago , IL
Sara Kaltreider MD, Charlottesville, VA
Jeffrey A. Keenan MD, Farragut, TN
Samuel N. Key III MD, Austin, TX
Michael E. Klein MD MPH, Jarrettsville, MD
Pierre Kory MD, Madison, WI
Barry Krakow MD, Savannah, GA
Joseph A. Ladapo MD PhD, Los Angeles, CA
Vance Lassey MD, Holton, KS
Peter Lazzopina MD, Harlingen, TX
Lionel Lee DO, Phoenix, AZ
Nancy Lefever MD, Tate, GA
Andrew Levine MD, Weslaco, TX
Katrina Lewis MD, Great Falls, MT
John T. Littell MD, Ocala, FL
Victor Lopez-Cuenca MD, Beverly Hills, CA
Ben Marble MD, Gulf Breeze, FL
Jane Marke MD, Brooklyn, NY
Robert L. Mauss DO, Gettysburg, PA
Peter A. McCullough MD MPH, Dallas, TX
Mark McDonald MD, Los Angeles, CA
John McFadden, MD, Clinton, MS
Clyde Meckel MD, Lincoln, NE
Cynthia Miley MD, Tucson, AZ
Kimberly D. Milhoan MD, Kihei, HI
Geoff Mitchell MD, Toledo, OH
Whitney Bethel Morgan MD, Seguin, TX
Meryl Nass MD, Ellsworth, ME
Thanhmy Nguyen MD, Tampa, FL
Bogna M. Nowak MD, Phoenix, AZ
John M. Nowins MD, Las Vegas, NV
Amy Offutt MD, Marble Falls, TX
Kyong Christopher Oh MD, Niles, IL
Jane M. Orient MD, Tucson, AZ
Ramin Oskoui MD, Washington, DC
Sheila Page DO, Aledo, TX
James A. Panter MD, Gainesville, GA
Donald C. Pompan MD, Salinas, CA
Margaret O. Powell MD, Madison, MS
Bose Ravenel MD (Retired), Colfax, NC
Gina Reghetti DO, Warren, OH
Stephen Replogle DO, Yuma, AZ
Robin Ridinger MD, Leesburg , VA
Harvey A. Risch MD PhD, New Haven, CT
Michael J. A. Robb MD, Phoenix, AZ
Michael A. Ross MD, McLean, VA
Molly Rutherford MD MPH, Crestwood, KY
Alessandro D. Santin MD, New Haven, CT
Keith E. Schulze MD, Sugar Land, TX
Larry C. Sears MD, Gainesville, TX
Denise Sibley MD, Johnson City, TN
Frank Sievert MD, Albany, OR
Marilyn M. Singleton MD, Los Angeles, CA
Scott L. Sledge MD, San Antonio, TX
Douglas A. Smith MD, Minnetonka, MN
Daniel Sneed DO, Fort Wort, TX
Stuart Spitzer MD, Kaufman, TX
Timothy Stonesifer MD, Chambersburg, PA
Carol K. Tharp MD, Winnetka, IL
Shereen Underwood DO, Eugene, OR
Richard G. Urso MD, Houston, TX
Kenneth G. Varley MD, Birmingham, AL
Kelly Victory MD, Steamboat Springs, CO
Lee L. Vliet MD, Tucson, AZ
Khanh Vu DO, Lubbock, TX
Mark D. Vuolo MD, Casper, WY
Craig M. Wax DO, Mullica Hill, NJ
Nancy H. Weres MD, Barstow, CA
Clayton Young MD, Conroe, TX
Jospeh Young MD, Jefferson, NJ
Andrew Zak MD, Dallas, TX


Note: An earlier version of this letter was submitted to the Journal of the American Medical Association but was not accepted for publication. If you are a doctor and would like to add your name to this letter, email [email protected] with your full name, credentials, and location exactly as they appear above.

References

[1] López-Medina, Eduardo, et al. “Effect of Ivermectin on Time to Resolution of Symptoms Among Adults With Mild COVID-19.” JAMA, March 4, 2021. Doi:10.1001/jama.2021.3071.

[2] Scheim, David, et al. “Protocol violations in López-Medina et al.: 38 switched ivermectin (IVM) and placebo doses, failure of blinding, widespread IVM sales OTC in Cali, and nearly identical AEs for the IVM and control groups.” Preprint, March 8, 2021. Doi:10.31219/osf.io/u7ewz.[3] McCullough PA, et al. “Multifaceted highly targeted sequential multidrug treatment of early ambulatory high-risk SARS-CoV-2 infection (COVID-19).” Rev Cardiovasc Med. 2020 Dec 30;21(4):517-530. Doi:10.31083/j.rcm.2020.04.264. PMID: 33387997. 

Responses

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  1. Well done Trail Site a great pity you get such little support but by the list of the doctors signing this document you are getting to the top of the hill great stuff I say

    Max

  2. “Ivermectin doesn’t work” and “there was no 2020 voter fraud”. The two biggest and most damaging lies ever perpetrated in the history of the planet.

  3. You didn’t mention another essential problem that should have been grounds for termination of the study:
    the 17 day period where doses were mixed up by the pharmacy, the data for these days discarded
    Conrad Miller M.D.
    Add that in promptly please if it is not too late (unless it’s in the letter and I missed it)

  4. Interesting how flawed studies have authors that are funded by Johnson and Johnson, Merck, and other pharmaceutical companies. In particular, it is noteworthy that the primary endpoints were changed in this study as well as the Remdesivir “study”. In reality, these are no longer purely scientific studies, but merely marketing campaigns for special interests, and their vehicles are the big-named medical journals.

  5. Yes, JAMA, can you clean the egg off your collective face? Where was your peer review? Many of us rely on your reviews and update on practice guidelines. Please explain, and do not try to CYA.