Unfavorable hydroxychloroquine COVID-19 research associated with authors having a history of political party donations

Document Type


Publication Date



Accounting and Finance

Publication Title

Reviews in Cardiovascular Medicine


We explored the degree to which political bias in medicine and study authors could explain the stark variation in Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)/Chloroquine (CQ) study favorability in the US compared to the rest of the world. COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 preprint and published papers between January 1, 2020-July 26, 2020 with Hydroxychloroquine and/or Chloroquine; 267 met study criteria, 68 from the US. A control subset was selected. HCQ/CQ study result favorability (favorable, unfavorable, or neutral) was noted. First and last main authors of each US study were entered into FollowTheMoney.org Website, extracting any history of political party donation. Of all US studies (68 total), 39/68 (57.4%) were unfavorable, with only 7/68 (10.3%) of US studies yielding favorable results-compared to 199 non-US studies, 66/199 (33.2%) unfavorable, 69/199 (34.7%) favorable, and 64/199 (32.2%) neutral. Studies with at least one US main author were 20.4% (SE 0.053, P < 0.05) more likely to report unfavorable results than non-US studies. US Studies with at least one main author donating to any political party were 25.6% (SE 0.085, P < 0.01) more likely to have unfavorable results. US studies with at least one author donating to the Democratic party were 20.4% (SE 0.045, P < 0.05) more likely to have unfavorable results. US authors were more likely to publish studies with medically harmful conclusions than non-US authors. Cardiology-specific HCQ/CQ studies were 44.2% more likely to yield harmful conclusions (P < 0.01). Inaccurate propagation of HCQ/CQ cardiac adverse effects with individual scientific author political bias has contributed to unfavorable US HCQ/CQ publication patterns and political polarization of the medications.

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