U faculty calls for review of controversial drug study

  • Article by: Jeremy Olson , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 5, 2013 - 7:10 PM

A young man committed suicide in 2004 while participating in the study

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drjudystoneDec. 5, 13 7:37 PM

I am delighted that the UMN Faculty Senate agrees with the calls by many for an independent outside investigation. It must review the sad Markingson case, which had many lapses that led to his death. Your statement that the FDA found no wrongdoing at the UMN is a bit misleading--their "investigation" was very brief and superficial. They did not even interview Dan's mother. Since then new documents have appeared that raise the question of fraudulent consent forms. The study coordinator was chastised by the state Board of Social Work for her role in research misconduct. And more patients are coming forward saying they were mistreated. All of this requires thorough review. I applaud the faculty for taking this first step. I hope that President Kaler will step up and do the right thing--for the Markingson family, other research volunteers, and the credibility of the university.

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kevinmattDec. 5, 13 8:12 PM

I attended the meeting and was overwhelmed with how passionate some of the Faculty were in support of the investigation. As far as Dr. Olson goes, I thought his speaking was very inappropriate and just furthered the call for an investigation. The University took a first step back to creditably by their vote, but they still have a very long way to go.

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weewillyDec. 5, 13 8:55 PM

That the University of Minnesota hasn't even begun to address this until now is a travesty. And let's not forget Fairview Hospital, allowing Dr. Olson to "recruit" the deceased patient into his drug company funded study.

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mharmonDec. 5, 13 9:34 PM

Also attended the Faculty Senate meeting and was moved by the genuine concern exhibited by many speakers on behalf of the investigation. Dr. Olson's appearance I thought was exceedingly appropriate as an example of why the investigation must go forward.

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jwozniakDec. 5, 1310:34 PM

The reporter, Jeremy Olson, has been writing about this case for years. It stuns me that as a journalist with specific experience writing about mental illness, he continues to make the most basic of blunders. Mr. Olson, in the year 2013, we refer to "people with schizophrenia".... not "schizophrenics". Dan Markingson and others with mental illness are more than their diagnoses. They are people. Would you refer to a patient with cancer as a "cancerite" Please Google "Person First Language".

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luxaeternaDec. 5, 1311:17 PM

Interesting how those calling for yet another investigation (no doubt funded by taxpayer money) are mostly liberal arts, philosophy, and "bioethics" professors. What do they know about psychiatry and mental illness, I wonder?

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sheriruizDec. 6, 13 5:49 AM

luxaeterna@ I'm not quite sure where to even begin with your un-informed comment. It's the protection of human subjects in all research at the University that is directly related to the Senate vote, not just psychiatry. The Markingson case certainly was the catapult to bring the issue to the forefront, but it's not the whole issue. The incredibly insensitive comment from Dr. Olson that people die in cancer studies all the time, so why not mental illness is exactly what's wrong with human subject research protection at the University. Patients in cancer studies are typically there because they've exhausted other options and the study in which Dan Markingson died wasn't for anything beyond marketing purposes, and most people don't die just because they're in a psychiatric study. The fact that it took all the assorted professors and clinicians from all over the globe to raise concerns is a huge black mark on the University of Minnesota, and the referenced "at taxpayer money" is comical, as the University's president authorized an outside consulting firm to analyze how top-heavy the Administration was/is to the tune of some half-million dollars. Something every "taxpayer" has known for decades. What the University spends and on what is a disaster, and so if they have to spend some money to find the truth and re-establish some credibility within the research and academic world- you're whining? Comical.

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rickschmidtDec. 6, 13 7:26 AM

The normal first step to correcting a wrong is admitting a wrong in the first place. The University's Senate appears to be the one body at the U that is concerned with reputation, and accountability. I too thought it very inappropriate for Dr. Olson to show up and then simply walk up and speak without invitation. But, in the overall scope of things his speaking did nothing to persuade the committee on voting positively, in fact, it encouraged it by his personal attack on Professor Carl Elliott, and then his repeated denials of any wrongdoing. It was obvious he had been coached previously by the University's Department of Denial.

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psychapooDec. 6, 1310:28 AM

@luxaeterna - I counted more than 20 MDs on Lemmen's list of signatories. 3 former editors of the New England Journal of Medicine have signed onto the petition for the Governor to investigate. "No doubt at taxpayer's expense"? Good point, perhaps - now, who's paying for the other side?

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balloneDec. 6, 1310:57 AM

@luxaeterna --I would venture to say the signers of the letter know a whole lot more about mental illness than you do, and especially a whole lot more on how research should be conducted on individuals that are suffering from MI. I've long ago come to the conclusion over the Markingson case that the University backed itself into a corner by their repeated denials of wrongdoing and claims of being vindicated by numerous bodies, and as those claims were challenged and they then crumbled, the University didn't possess the integrity to admit they made mistakes. I would certainly say the Senate vote was an important first step not only for the Markingson supporters, but for the University as well.

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