The editors of Frontiers in Pharmacology have taken down an article about the use of the antiparasitic drug ivermectin in COVID-19 patients. The paper, which was written by members of an organization called the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC), had been provisionally accepted and posted in abstract form by the journal in January, but was ultimately rejected this Monday (March 1). The editors determined that it contained unsubstantiated claims and violated the journal’s editorial policies.
By the end of last week, the abstract had been viewed more than 85,000 times, according to snapshots available on the internet archive.
The paper’s removal has drawn anger from members of the FLCCC and its followers. In comments on Twitter and in an interview with The Scientist, the organization’s president, Pierre Kory, describes the move as “censorship.” He adds in the interview that the paper had already successfully passed through multiple rounds of review. In reversing the paper’s acceptance, the journal is “allowing some sort of external peer reviewer to comment on our paper,” he says. “I find that very abnormal.”
After being contacted by The Scientist, the journal posted a statement from Frontiers’s chief executive editor, Frederick Fenter, saying that “Frontiers takes no position on the efficacy of ivermectin as a treatment of patients with COVID-19, however, we do take a very firm stance against unbalanced or unsupported scientific conclusions.”