ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE

Carl Elliott, MD, PhD, is Professor in the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota, where he also has joint appointments in the Department of Philosophy and the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. A native South Carolinian, Elliott trained in medicine before earning his PhD in philosophy at Glasgow University in Scotland. He did postdoctoral work at the University of Chicago, the University of Otago in New Zealand, and the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine at the University of Natal in Durban, South Africa. Prior to moving to Minnesota he taught at McGill University in Montreal. In 2003-04 he was a Visiting Associate Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, where he led a faculty seminar on bioethics. He is the author or editor of seven books, including Better than Well: American Medicine Meets the American Dream and White Coat, Black Hat: Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicine. His articles have appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Mother Jones and The New England Journal of Medicine.  He was awarded a 2011 Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media.  In 2011-2012, he was a Network Fellow at the Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University.

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February 19, 2015

The wait has been exhausting, but it is possible that a flicker of light may finally shine on the dark recent history of psychiatric research at the University of Minnesota. Given these upcoming investigations of psychiatric research at the University of Minnesota, the time is right to look back at some of the disturbing, unanswered questions that have emerged over the past several years.
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May 21, 2014

KMSP News has aired a report of yet another mentally ill man pressured to enroll in a study of an unapproved antipsychotic drug, with near-disastrous results. His story bears a striking resemblance to the case of Dan Markingson, who committed suicide in a University of Minnesota study in 2004.

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May 18, 2014

Professor Leigh Turner of the University of Minnesota Center for Bioethics blasts the Board of Regents for ignoring psychiatric research abuse.
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April 11, 2014

Patient advocates and bioethicists have launched a call-in campaign demanding action on psychiatric research abuse at the University of Minnesota.
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February 11, 2014

In 2004, a patient was given an experimental antipsychotic called bifeprunox and died of hepatorenal failure nine days later. But the sponsor apparently did not investigate the death for three years. In late 2007 the sponsor issued a safety alert and suspended all bifeprunox studies. This is where things get interesting.
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December 16, 2013

Responding to a letter signed by 175 scholars asking for an inquiry into the death of Dan Markingson at the University of Minnesota, the Faculty Senate voted to investigate clinical research at the university. But the university president says the Markingson case will not be part of the investigation. What is he trying to hide?
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November 27, 2013

For a scathing, 11-minute overview of the death of Dan Markingson at the University of Minnesota, and new allegations of coercion into psychiatric clinical trials, you can’t do much better than this excellent investigative report by Jeff Baillon.
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September 13, 2013

It took over twenty years for the state medical board to sanction a Minnesota psychiatrist who was responsible for the deaths and injuries of 46 patients. Today, in the Markingson case, it looks as if history is repeating itself. How many patients die while bureaucrats delay?
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August 28, 2013

Dan Markingson was floridly psychotic and unable to give informed consent when University of Minnesota researchers coerced him into an industry-funded drug study. His mother, Mary Weiss, warned the researchers that Dan was in danger of killing himself, but she was ignored. Dan committed a violent suicide in 2004. Last week, after fighting the university and research regulators for nine years, Mary suffered a severe stroke. Her struggle for justice is in serious danger.
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May 4, 2013

At the University of Minnesota, the answer is apparently $1,446. If harmless clerical errors were to blame for oddities like this, that fact should be easy to clarify simply by looking at the relevant documents.  But if there are systematic issues with the administration of clinical trials that makes it possible to bill for a visit with a dead subject, those issues would be important for other universities and private trial sites as well. 
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April 15, 2013

It is not often that you will find an issue on which the editors of The Lancet and Guinea Pig Zero agree, but the need to investigate the University of Minnesota is one of them. At this point, it still not clear who will prevail: those who want to honor the Department of Psychiatry, or those who want to have it investigated.
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March 16, 2013

Psychiatrists at the University of Minnesota forced a young man into a profitable study of antipsychotic drugs over the objections of his mother, who desperately warned that his condition was deteriorating and that he was in danger of killing himself. On May 8, 2004, Mary Weiss’ only son, Dan Markingson, committed suicide. A petition to the governor of Minnesota now asks for an investigation.
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January 10, 2013

In early 2009, antipsychotic fraud was making headlines.  Eli Lilly had announced in January that it would plead guilty to charges that it had illegally marketed Zyprexa. The company agreed to pay a record-breaking $1.42 billion in penalties. Meanwhile, AstraZeneca …
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