Post June 5, 2014: Early News Media Coverage of AAHRPP’s Selection

Early news reports addressing AAHRPP’s selection by the University identified four serious problems with the planned review. First, critics quoted in initial news coverage noted that AAHRPP, despite being concerned with protecting safety of research subjects, had agreed to accept payment for producing a report that would focus only on current research practices and would not examine Dan Markingson’s suicide and the CAFÉ study. Second, they observed that AAHRPP’s CEO, Elyse Summers, had already stated that AAHRPP does not investigate allegations of research misconduct. Third, because AAHRPP had already accredited the University of Minnesota, it had a conflict-of-interest because of its pre-existing client-provider relationship. AAHRPP, critics charged, should not be asked to review a research protection program that it had accredited for a decade. Fourth, one reviewer, Dr. Jeremy Sugarman, was identified promptly as having a conflict-of-interest due to his consulting work for Quintiles. (Quintiles was the Contract Research Organization for the Quintiles study in which Dan Markingson committed suicide. Quintiles had also served as the CRO for other clinical studies conducted by faculty members in the Department of Psychiatry.) According to Dr. Sugarman’s CV, he was a member of Quintiles’ “Comprehension of Informed Consent Advisory Board.” While university officials at AAHRPP would later claim that this conflict-of-interest had been disclosed, it appears that this conflict-of-interest was not addressed by university officials and AAHRPP’s CEO until it was identified and challenged by individuals concerned with the integrity and credibility of the planned review.

Christopher Snowbeck and Mila Koumpilova, “UMN hires outside group to review clinic research on humans,” Pioneer Press, June 5, 2014.

Alex Friedrich, “U hires panel to review research practices,” MPR News, June 5, 2014.

Anne Millerbernd, “U research faces deep review after scrutiny,” Minnesota Daily, June 18, 2014.

Jesse Marx, “Consumer advocacy group blasts U of M for handling of psychiatric drug research program,” City Pages, June 18, 2014.

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