Former Minnesota Governor Criticizes UMinn Psychiatry Department


Former state governor Arne Carlson has asked the legislature to delay appointing the new Board of Regents for the University of Minnesota. Carlson signed a damning letter alongside MIA Blogger Carl Elliott, criticizing the university for its ongoing mishandling of charges of corruption in its psychiatric research.

Elliott has been asking the university for years to allow a full and independent investigation of the death of Dan Markingson during a drug trial.

“Any endeavor that involves corporate contracts for research requires special scrutiny due to the obvious conflicts of interest and temptations involved,” the letter stated. “In this case, drug companies have been paying for the testing of experimental drugs and researchers have been financially rewarded for enrolling participants and administering drugs according to accepted medical protocols. As the attached report notes, serious questions have arisen relative to the poor study design and biased results, numerous conflicts of interests, six suicides, multiple injuries, the FDA banning of some researchers, the felony conviction and imprisonment of a professor, and an unhealthy research environment. Most disturbing is the deliberate refusal of the Board of Regents to publicly review or hold hearings on what they knew was clearly a troubled area.”

According to MPR News, “Senate Higher Education Committee chair Terri Bonoff confirmed Friday she has asked Majority Leader Tom Bakk to delay the process in light of a letter from former Gov. Arne Carlson that was critical of the university.”

A university representative was quoted in WSJ Pharmalot, responding that, “while the case of Dan Markingson was definitely a tragedy, it was not a scandal.”

Former Minnesota Governor Wants University to Upgrade Trial Oversight (WSJ Pharmalot, February 10, 2015)

State Senate asked to delay picking U of M regents (MPR News, February 6, 2015)

Gov. Arne Carlson Open Letter to Legislators on Psychiatric Drug Testing at UMN Feb. 2015

Gov. Arne Carlson blasts Board of Regents in open letter to legislature (Fear and Loathing in Bioethics, February 6, 2015)


  1. When it comes to the influence of corporations and big money, corruption is endemic to college campuses across the country. Minnesota may be just the tip of the ice burg here, but there are many college campuses, here, there, and the other place, that could use some kind of spring cleaning right about now. If, as in the case of Minnesota, the old way of doing things is killing people. Out with the old, and in with the new. Minnesota’s former governor is to be commended for taking action. I wish there were more state officials like her. Problem is, when it comes to corruption, college doesn’t have a monopoly on the matter. As state legislatures have become millionaire clubs, corporate influence grows, and poverty spreads.

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    • Frank,

      US Senator Chuck Grassley’s work – the exposure of corruption in university psychiatric research involving *federal tax dollars* was a good example of “following the money”…

      Following the money does not *always* lead to private, for-profit sources (in this case, pharma), but far too often, *public* sources.

      In short, billions are being ripped off from taxpayers, many of whom are middle-income people. The debt is similar to a credit card. It’s real money, that future generations will need to pay back. And it’s criminal.


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