Peter A. McCullough
Peter Andrew McCullough
December 29, 1962
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
|Education||Baylor University (BS)|
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (MD)
University of Michigan (MPH)
Peter Andrew McCullough (//; born December 29, 1962) is an American cardiologist. He was vice chief of internal medicine at Baylor University Medical Center and a professor at Texas A&M University. During the COVID-19 pandemic, McCullough has promoted misinformation about COVID-19, its treatments, and mRNA vaccines.
Early life and education
Peter Andrew McCullough was born in Buffalo, New York, on December 29, 1962. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Baylor University in 1984 and his Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 1988. He completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle, a cardiology fellowship in 1991, and practiced internal medicine in Grayling, Michigan, for two years before enrolling in the University of Michigan School of Public Health, earning a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in 1994.
After receiving his MPH, McCullough was a cardiovascular fellow at William Beaumont Hospital in the Detroit metropolitan area until 1997. He then worked at the Henry Ford Heart and Vascular Institute in Detroit until 2000, served as section chief of cardiology of the University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Medicine, and returned to William Beaumont Hospital where he worked from 2002 to 2010. He spent the next four years as chief academic and scientific officer of the St. John Providence Health System, Detroit, before joining the Baylor University Medical Center in 2014. McCullough entered into a confidential separation agreement with Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in February 2021. In July, in response to his promotion of misinformation about COVID-19, Baylor sued McCullough to prevent him falsely claiming any current association with Baylor Health. On January 17, 2023, the 191st Judicial District Court of Dallas County, Texas dismissed the case. While details were not disclosed, according to The Texan, "[v]oluntary dismissal of claims with prejudice are usually entered after a settlement agreement has been reached."
McCullough is a founder and current president of the Cardio Renal Society of America and co-editor-in-chief of Cardiorenal Medicine, the society's journal, and also editor of Reviews in Cardiovascular Medicine. He has conducted several studies on running and heart disease, and co-described the term Phidippides cardiomyopathy, a heart condition found in some high endurance athletes. McCullough's other research projects have included the relationship between heart disease and kidney disease and risk factors for heart disease. He is a member of the conservative advocacy group Association of American Physicians and Surgeons and has advocated for conspiracy theories promoted by the group.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, McCullough advocated for early treatment using the discredited treatments hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, criticized the response of the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration, dissented from public health recommendations, and contributed to COVID-19 misinformation.
Early advocacy for hydroxychloroquine
In April 2020, McCullough led a study of the medication hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 for the Baylor Scott & White Medical Center. McCullough told The Wall Street Journal that the urgency of the public health crisis justified compromises on best practices in medical research. In July, after major studies found hydroxychloroquine was ineffective against COVID-19 and the Food and Drug Administration revoked its emergency use authorization (EUA), McCullough supported a second EUA.
In August 2020, McCullough, Harvey Risch of the Yale School of Public Health, and co-authors published an observational study proposing an early outpatient treatment regimen for COVID-19 in the American Journal of Medicine. Based on previous evidence, the article made recommendations for treating ambulatory COVID-19 patients, but presented no new evidence. The article was shared on social media, mainly by groups which had previously published COVID-19 misinformation, in posts falsely interpreting the publication as an official endorsement by the journal itself of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19. The Ministry of Health of Brazil endorsed the article on its website, contributing to a severe COVID-19 misinformation problem in Brazil. The article was criticized in letters to the editors; the editors responded that the article included some "hopeful speculations...What seemed reasonable last summer based on laboratory experiments has subsequently been shown to be untrue."
McCullough and Risch were two of three witnesses called by committee chair Senator Ron Johnson to testify before a United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing on COVID-19 treatments held in November 2020. McCullough testified in support of social distancing, vaccination, and controversial treatments, including hydroxychloroquine. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, called to testify by the ranking member, said the "clear consensus in the medical and scientific community, based on overwhelming evidence" is that hydroxychloroquine is ineffective as a treatment for COVID-19. McCullough said Jha was promoting misinformation and Jha's opposition to the drug was "reckless and dangerous for the nation." Jha responded on The New York Times opinion page, "By elevating witnesses who sound smart but endorse unfounded therapies, we risk jeopardizing a century's work of medical progress."
McCullough testified before a committee of the Texas Senate in March 2021, posted to YouTube by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, in which he made false claims about COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines, including that people under 50 years of age and survivors do not need the vaccine and that there is no evidence of asymptomatic spread of COVID-19.
Posted on the Canadian online video sharing platform Rumble, McCullough gave an interview in April 2021 to The New American, the magazine of the right-wing John Birch Society, in which he advanced anti-vaccination messaging, including falsely claiming huge numbers of fatalities attributed to the COVID-19 vaccines. In May 2021, McCullough gave an interview in which he made claims about COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines which were "inaccurate, misleading and/or unsupported by evidence", including that survivors cannot be re-infected and so do not require vaccination and that the vaccines are dangerous.
During television appearances, McCullough has contradicted public health recommendations, including when asked about the aggressive spread of COVID-19 among children, by suggesting that healthy persons under 30 had no need for a vaccine, and when asked about the relative merits of vaccination-induced immunity versus "natural" (survivor) immunity, by disputing the necessity of vaccinations to achieve herd immunity. In December 2021, McCullough appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience promoting debunked conspiracy theories and misinformation (e.g. the COVID-19 pandemic was planned, the spike protein causes cell death, medical authorities are conspiring to illegitimately suppress hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin).
- McCullough, Peter A.; Ronco, Claudio, eds. (2020). Textbook of Cardiorenal Medicine. London: Springer Nature. ISBN 978-3-030-57459-8.
- Rangaswami, Janani; Lerma, Edgar V.; McCullough, Peter A., eds. (2020). Kidney Disease in the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory: A Practical Approach. London: Springer Nature. ISBN 978-3-030-45413-5.
- Leake, John; McCullough, Peter A.; Kennedy, Robert F. Jr. (2022). The Courage to Face COVID-19: Preventing Hospitalization and Death While Battling the Bio–Pharmaceutical Complex. Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 9781510776807.
- "Peter McCullough, MD, for CKD Population Screening". Renal & Urology News. May 15, 2013. Retrieved July 29, 2021 – via YouTube.
- "Dr. Peter A. McCullough MD". U.S. News & World Report.
- Rutherford, Fiona (April 1, 2021). "Trump-Touted Drug Lives On as Covid Therapy Despite Trial Flops". Bloomberg News.
- McDonald, Jessica (July 30, 2021). "Vaccines Remain Largely Effective Against Delta Variant, Counter to Claims From Fox News Guest". FactCheck.org. Annenberg Public Policy Center.
But that's not the message Fox News guest Dr. Peter McCullough has been spreading. In a July 13 interview on "The Ingraham Angle," the private practice internist played down the risks of the delta variant and falsely said there was "no clinical reason to go get vaccinated."...McCullough, who has previously been a source of COVID-19 misinformation, including about vaccines...
- D'Ambrosio, Amanda (August 6, 2021). "Lawsuit: Doc Using Old Baylor Affiliation While Dishing COVID Vax Falsehoods". MedPage Today.
In several media interviews, McCullough has spread misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.
- "US cardiologist makes misleading claims about Malaysia's Covid-19 vaccine drive". AFP. November 15, 2021. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
- Peter A. McCullough; William C. Roberts (September 16, 2014). "Peter Andrew McCullough, MD, MPH: an interview with the editor". The American Journal of Cardiology. 114 (11): 1772–1785. doi:10.1016/J.AMJCARD.2014.08.034. ISSN 0002-9149. PMID 25439453. Wikidata Q48058425.
- "Peter A McCullough | USC Journal". www.uscjournal.com. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
- "Biography: Peter A. McCullough, MD, MPH". www.cardiometabolichealth.org.
- "Baylor health sues COVID-19 vaccine skeptic and demands Dallas doctor stop using its name". The Dallas Morning News. July 30, 2021.
- Fox 4 staff (July 30, 2021). "Baylor Scott & White sues COVID-19 vaccine skeptic Dallas doctor, demands he stop using its name". Dallas, Texas. Fox News.
- Roberts, Kim (February 2, 2023). "Lawsuit Against Dr. Peter McCullough by Baylor Scott & White Dismissed". The Texan. Retrieved March 21, 2023.
- "Editorial Board". Cardiorenal Medicine.
- "Board of Directors". Cardio Renal Society of America. Archived from the original on July 25, 2021. Retrieved July 25, 2021.
- Simons, Margaret (February 21, 2021). "Melbourne doctors under review for promoting discredited Covid treatment". The Guardian. Australia.
- "Reviews in Cardiovascular Medicine Editorial board". rcm.imrpress.com. Archived from the original on July 28, 2021. Retrieved July 28, 2021.
- Baker, Sam (February 2, 2018). "Running Is A Healthy Form Of Cardio, But Heart Issues Can Still Arise". KERA News. Retrieved July 28, 2021.
- Justin E. Trivax; Peter A. McCullough (January 4, 2012). "Phidippides cardiomyopathy: a review and case illustration". Clinical Cardiology. 35 (2): 69–73. doi:10.1002/CLC.20994. ISSN 0160-9289. PMC 6652719. PMID 22222888. Wikidata Q34245017.
- Gavrilova, E. A.; Churganov, O. A.; Belodedova, M. D. (2021). "Autopsy-Negative Cardiac Death in Sports and Its Causes". Human Physiology. 47 (2): 232–236. doi:10.1134/S0362119721010047. ISSN 0362-1197. S2CID 235260145.
- Luigi Gabrielli; Marta Sitges; Mario Chiong; et al. (June 12, 2018). "Potential adverse cardiac remodelling in highly trained athletes: still unknown clinical significance". European Journal of Sport Science. 18 (9): 1288–1297. doi:10.1080/17461391.2018.1484174. ISSN 1746-1391. PMID 29893180. S2CID 48354085. Wikidata Q89073903.
- Neegaard, Lauran (June 26, 2007). "Study links heart, kidney ailments". The Bryan-College Station Eagle. The Associated Press.
- Kirkey, Sharon (September 22, 2008). "Obesity brings on heart attacks 12 years earlier". The Vancouver Sun. p. A.1.
- Holmes, Jack (July 8, 2021). "Fox News Is Moving From 'Just Asking Questions' to Full-On Anti-Vax Crapola". Esquire.
- Gorski, David (May 10, 2021). "The COVID-19 "Vaccine Holocaust": The latest antivaccine messaging". Science-Based Medicine.
- McGinley, Laurie; Dawsey, Josh (July 10, 2020). "Touting criticized study, White House presses FDA to authorize hydroxychloroquine — again". The Washington Post.
- Iati, Marisa (November 20, 2020). "Senate holds hearing on hydroxychloroquine, despite no evidence it works against covid-19". The Washington Post.
- "Joe Rogan interview with Peter McCullough contains multiple false and unsubstantiated claims about the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines". Health Feedback. December 23, 2021. Retrieved November 26, 2022.
- Sharp, Rachel (December 17, 2021). "Joe Rogan podcast hosts doctor known for pushing debunked claims about Covid-19". The Independent. Retrieved November 26, 2022.
- Banet, Rémi (April 9, 2021). "US cardiologist makes false claims about Covid-19 vaccination". Agence France-Presse.
- Teoh, Flora, ed. (June 4, 2021). "Vaccines are a safer alternative for acquiring immunity compared to natural infection and COVID-19 survivors benefit from getting vaccinated, contrary to claims by Peter McCullough". Health Feedback.
- Ecarma, Caleb (July 8, 2021). "The Right-Wing Vaccine Rebellion Has Arrived on Campus". Vanity Fair.
One Fox News medical expert, Peter McCullough, M.D., went so far as to steal the Joe Rogan argument, asserting on Wednesday that no college-age person in America should receive the COVID-19 vaccine. "Overall, the equation is very unfavorable for vaccination of anyone below age 30," he said during an appearance on Laura Ingraham's program Wednesday night. "Unless we really have a compelling case, no one under age 30 should receive any one of these vaccines."
- Hopkins, Thomas M. Burton and Jared S. (April 24, 2020). "FDA Warns Against Use of Chloroquine Outside of Clinical Trials". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved January 2, 2022.
Preliminary research justifies deploying the drugs to treat mild coronavirus patients, before they require hospitalization, said Peter McCullough, a cardiologist at Baylor Scott & White Health in Dallas, which is studying hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic in health-care workers. "We have to make some decisions now," he said.
- Hopkins, Denise Roland and Jared S. (April 28, 2020). "The Hunt for Covid-19 Drugs and Vaccines Becomes Even More Complex". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved January 2, 2022.
Companies and researchers are also wrestling with how to balance testing experimental medicines as quickly as possible without sacrificing scientific rigor in clinical trials. For some studies, that means departing from the best standard for assessing a drug's safety and efficacy: measuring how one group of patients getting the drug fares against a control group receiving either the standard therapy or a placebo. A seven-week trial evaluating hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic didn't wait the typical two months to manufacture a placebo in order to investigate as quickly as possible the antimalarial's safety and efficacy, said Peter McCullough, a cardiologist who is leading the trial at the Baylor Scott & White Health in Dallas. Instead, subjects who get the drug aren't randomly selected, and the normal control group will receive standard treatment, Dr. McCullough said.
- Peter A. McCullough; Ronan J Kelly; Gaetano Ruocco; et al. (August 6, 2020). "Pathophysiological Basis and Rationale for Early Outpatient Treatment of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Infection". The American Journal of Medicine. 134 (1): 16–22. doi:10.1016/J.AMJMED.2020.07.003. ISSN 0002-9343. PMC 7410805. PMID 32771461. S2CID 221011373. Wikidata Q98282795.
- Reuters Staff (March 2, 2021). "Fact Check: The American Journal of Medicine has not endorsed hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19". Reuters.
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- Carballo-Carbajal, Iria, ed. (February 3, 2021). "The American Journal of Medicine didn't recommend hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19; scientific evidence doesn't show hydroxychloroquine is effective against COVID-19". Health Feedback.
- "Misleading claim circulates that US medical journal endorsed hydroxychloroquine as Covid treatment". Australia. Agence France-Presse. February 11, 2021.
- Machado Silva, Heslley (2021). "The Brazilian Scientific Denialism Through The American Journal of Medicine". The American Journal of Medicine. 134 (4): 415–416. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2021.01.003. PMC 9745804. PMID 33561430. S2CID 231865878.
- Alpert, Joseph S.; Simon, Harvey B. (February 17, 2021). "The American Journal of Medicine Responds". The American Journal of Medicine. 134 (4): 417. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2021.02.001. ISSN 0002-9343. PMC 7889015. PMID 33609529.
- Korman, Tony M.; McMahon, James H. (February 23, 2021). "Early Outpatient Treatment of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19): A Comment". The American Journal of Medicine. 134 (3): 220–221. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2020.08.044. PMC 7901364. PMID 33637180.
McCullough et al propose a treatment algorithm for early outpatient treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which is not supported by evidence.
- Chander Chianga, Kate; Gupta, Ajay (April 19, 2021). "Aspirin Resistance in Obese and Elderly Patients with COVID-19?". The American Journal of Medicine. 134 (4): 297. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2020.09.006. PMC 8054641. PMID 33888223.
We suggest caution in relying on low-dose aspirin as chemoprophylaxis or treatment for immunothrombosis in COVID-19, especially in patients who are obese or elderly.
- Weissmann, Leonardo; Naime Barbosa, Alexandre; Scarpellini, Bruno; Diament, Décio; Alexandrino Medeiros, Eduardo; Urbano Silva, Estevão; Mirna Loro Morejón, Karen; Rosalba Domingos Oliveira, Priscila; Silveira Bello Stucchi, Raquel; Porto Medeiros, Roseane; Cimerman, Sérgio; Constant Vergara, Tânia Regina; Arns Cunha, Clóvis (May 4, 2021). "Comments on the Pathophysiological Basis and Rationale for Early Treatment of COVID-19". The American Journal of Medicine. 134 (5): 341–342. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2021.01.004. PMC 8095727. PMID 33962707.
Studies based only on pathophysiology are not adequate to prove the benefit of drug intervention...it is essential to follow the best scientific evidence and the principles of bioethics.
- Rodrigo Diaz Olmos; Felício Lopes Roque (May 2021). "Unproven Therapy Algorithms for Early SARS-CoV-2 Infection Are Dangerous". The American Journal of Medicine. 134 (5): e345. doi:10.1016/J.AMJMED.2021.01.009. ISSN 0002-9343. PMC 8095967. PMID 33962709. Wikidata Q107652690.
...the article ... has many important drawbacks.
- Michel Shamy; Brian Dewar (July 2021). "Concerning Pathophysiology and Justifying Clinical Trials". The American Journal of Medicine. 134 (7): e439. doi:10.1016/J.AMJMED.2021.02.022. ISSN 0002-9343. PMC 8229556. PMID 34183149. Wikidata Q107652835.
...we disagree with both the specific assertion that hydroxychloroquine should be used for early outpatient treatment based on its biological plausibility, and the broader philosophical point that in the absence of trials for a specific population, we should defer to mechanistic reasoning rather than extrapolating from the results of existing trials.
- Spicuzza, Mary; Fauber, John; Boulton, Guy (November 20, 2020). "'What he is doing is outrageous': Doctors slam Sen. Ron Johnson over hearing on COVID-19 treatments". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Johnson, Ron R.; Peters, Gary C.; McCullough, Peter A.; Risch, Harvey; Fareed, George C.; Jha, Ashish K. (November 19, 2020). Early Outpatient Treatment: An Essential Part of a COVID-19 Solution (meeting and video conference) (video). Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.: United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
- McCullough, Peter (November 19, 2020). "Dr. McCullough Senate Testimony" (PDF). United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
- Jha, Ashish (November 24, 2020). "The Snake-Oil Salesmen of the Senate". The New York Times.
- Hargis, Cydney; Geonzon, Jasmine; Taaffe, Gideon (July 20, 2021). "Right-wing media is an echo chamber of anti-vaccine messaging". Media Matters for America. Media Matters for America.
During the July 7 edition of Fox News' Ingraham Angle, guest and cardiologist Peter McCullough said "no one under the age of 30 should receive any one of these vaccines" citing the risk of rare health complications following one or both injections.
- Blake, Aaron (July 19, 2021). "Vaccine doubters' strange fixation with Israel". The Washington Post.
A cardiologist on Fox News pointed to Israel's data while claiming "the delta variant really is not ... protected at all by the vaccines," and said, "There is no reason right now — no clinical reason to go get vaccinated."
- Woodward, Alex (July 20, 2021). "Fox News hosts railed against 'vaccine passports' – the company requires one to return to work without a mask". The Independent. Archived from the original on May 25, 2022.
A programme hosted by Laura Ingraham – who recently hosted a guest who falsely claimed that there is "no clinical reason to go get vaccinated"
- Maddox, Will (January 25, 2022). "Dallas Doc to Joe Rogan: Physicians and World Leaders Have 'Mass Formation Psychosis'". D Magazine. Retrieved November 26, 2022.
- Butler, Kiera (March 7, 2023). "The company offering free health care to East Palestine? It's a right-wing, anti-vax project". Mother Jones. Archived from the original on September 14, 2023. Retrieved September 14, 2023.
- Jarry, Jonathan (March 10, 2023). "Dr. Peter McCullough's Libertarian Medical Train Makes a Pit Stop in East Palestine". McGill University Office for Science and Society. Archived from the original on September 14, 2023. Retrieved September 14, 2023.
- Carballo-Carbajal, Iria (July 31, 2023). "Flawed preprint based on autopsies inadequate to demonstrate that COVID-19 vaccines caused 74% of those deaths". Health Feedback. Retrieved August 11, 2023.