"Due to this unfortunate development, the authors request that the paper be retracted," they said. "We all entered this collaboration to contribute in good faith and at a time of great need during the COVID-19 pandemic. We deeply apologize to you, the editors, and the journal readership for any embarrassment or inconvenience that this may have caused."
In a statement, The Lancet said it "takes issues of scientific integrity extremely seriously, and there are many outstanding questions about Surgisphere and the data that were allegedly included in this study." It added: "Institutional reviews of Surgisphere's research collaborations are urgently needed."
The second retracted study
, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, had found that certain heart disease drugs, including ACE inhibitors, didn't worsen the risk of death for coronavirus patients. The authors included Desai of Surgisphere and Mehra and Patel, who were authors on study in The Lancet, as well as Drs. SreyRam Kuy and Timothy Henry.
"Because all the authors were not granted access to the raw data and the raw data could not be made available to a third-party auditor, we are unable to validate the primary data sources underlying our article," the authors wrote in the retraction.
"We apologize to the editors and to readers of the Journal for the difficulties that this has caused."
Earlier this week, The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine issued expressions of concern about Surgisphere data used in the two studies.
In a statement posted on its website after the expressions of concern, Surgisphere said "our multi-national observational registry study published in The Lancet Medical Journal has been met with both high praise and some skepticism from the scientific community and global institutions.
"The Surgisphere registry is an aggregation of the deidentified electronic health records of customers of QuartzClinical, Surgisphere's machine learning program and data analytics platform," it added. Surgisphere said it had detected a problem with one hospital in its database. "This hospital was properly reclassified in our database. The findings of the paper are unaffected by this update," it said.
CNN reached out to Surgisphere for comment on Thursday.
"While concealing identifiable individual patient data is important, there are other ways to verify the integrity of the data," Stephen Evans, a professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who was not involved in either study, said about retraction of The Lancet study.
"For example, data providers should be able to confirm that they have provided data with at the very least, the approximate numbers of patients involved. It is correct to retract the paper in these circumstances." (CNN)