October 21, 2013: Scholars Ask University of Minnesota Faculty Senators to Request the Establishment of an Independent Inquiry Into the CAFÉ Study and the Death of Dan Markingson

On October 21, 2013, Trudo Lemmens, Raymond De Vries, Alice Dreger, Lois Shepherd, Susan Reverby, and Jerome Kassirer sent a letter to University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler and Faculty Senators. They urged faculty senators to establish an independent inquiry into the suicide of Dan Markingson and address longstanding questions and controversies concerning the clinical trial (the “CAFÉ study”) in which Markingson was enrolled at the time of his death. The letter in part stated, “We have become greatly concerned with the controversies surrounding the suicide of Dan Markingson in a clinical trial at the University of Minnesota’s Fairview Hospital in 2004. The circumstances surrounding his suicide while enrolled in the CAFÉ study provide sufficient reason for an independent investigation. Other red flags raised by the way the CAFÉ study was conducted at the University of Minnesota Fairview Hospital at urgency to the need for an independent inquiry. In light of the absence of an adequate response by University administrators, we are hereby calling upon the University of Minnesota Senate to help address the several serious issues associated with Mr. Markingson’s death, by requesting the setting up of such an inquiry.”

Trudo Lemmens, Raymond De Vries, Alice Dreger, Lois Shepherd, Susan M. Reverby, and Jerome P. Kassirer, Letter to President Kaler, Professor von Dassow, and Members of the University of Minnesota Senate, October 21, 2013. (There were 171 additional signatories to this letter.)

Media Release, “Call for Independent Inquiry of Suicide in Clinical Trial University of Minnesota, By 177 Scholar in Law, Bioethics and Medicine,” October 21, 2013.

News Media Coverage of the Letter Sent to President Kaler and Faculty Senators

Judy Stone, “More scholars call for U to investigate clinical trial suicide,” Minnesota Daily, November 11, 2013.

Jeff Baillon, “Side-effects of drug study,” KMSP-Fox 9, November 17, 2013.

Susan Perry, “U of M bioethicist latest to call for independent look at the school’s troubling Markingson case,” MinnPost, November 22, 2013.

Bill Gleason, “Send in the wackos…” Minneapolis StarTribune, November 24, 2013.

Judy Stone, “A Clinical Trial and Suicide: What do the UMN and Disney Have in Common,” Scientific American Molecules to Medicine Blog, November 25, 2013.

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