University of Minnesota Suspends Enrollment in Psychiatric Drug Trials

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In the wake of a second critical report this month about its psychiatry department’s ethical practices and conflicts of interest, the University of Minnesota has temporarily suspended enrollment in its psychiatric drug trials, according to MinnPost.

“For the second time this month, a report has criticized University of Minnesota research practices stemming from the controversial suicide of a clinical trial participant more than a decade ago,” stated WSJ Pharmalot. “And the latest missive – which was released by the state legislative auditor – finds the university’s handling of the episode raised serious issues that have damaged its ‘credibility and reputation.'”

WSJ Pharmalot quoted from the legislative auditor’s report: “We do not think it is possible to know whether Dan Markingson’s suicide was connected to his participation in the university clinical drug study; the suicide of a person with serious mental illness may involve many contributing factors. However, the Markingson case raises serious ethical issues and numerous conflicts of interest, which university leaders have been consistently unwilling to acknowledge. They have repeatedly claimed that clinical research at the university meets the highest ethical standards and dismissed the need for further consideration of the Markingson case by making misleading statements about past reviews. This insular and inaccurate response has seriously harmed the University of Minnesota’s credibility and reputation.”

MinnPost reported that “the University of Minnesota has announced that it is suspending enrollment into interventional drug studies being overseen by its psychiatry department until independent reviewers can determine that the studies fully protect all patients. The university also said it intends to appoint a ‘community oversight board’ of outside experts to make sure patients are protected in clinical trials going forward.”

The case has been written about extensively over years by MIA Blogger Carl Elliott.

A University’s Handling of Clinical Trial Practices Raises ‘Serious Ethical Issues’ (WSJ Pharmalot, March 23, 2015)

U of M suspends enrollment in psychiatric drug trials in the wake of scathing report on Markingson case (MinnPost, March 20, 2015)

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Rob Wipond
Rob Wipond is a freelance journalist who writes frequently on the interfaces between psychiatry, civil rights, the justice system, and social change. His articles have been nominated for three Canadian National Magazine Awards, nine Western Magazine Awards, and five Webster Awards for journalism. He is currently working on a book about people's experiences of forced psychiatric treatment, and can be contacted through his website.

5 COMMENTS

    • Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It’s really sad, I hope we can go back to living in a society that understands the importance of treating others as you’d like to be treated, rather than counting on one’s corporation to cover up their crimes.

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