Investigate Dan Markingson’s Death & Psychiatric Clinical Research at UMN

Trudo Lemmens, Ray De Vries, Alice Dreger, Lois Shepherd, Susan Reverby, and Jerome Kassirer have sent another letter to President Kaler, Professor Eva von Dassow, and University of Minnesota Faculty Senators. Their letter challenges Kaler’s bizarre decision to post a “request for proposal” asking prospective contractors to conduct a review of “current policies, practices, and oversight of clinical research on human subjects at the University.” Lemmens and colleagues rightly blast Kaler for failing to support a legitimate independent investigation of the death of Dan Markingson and related allegations of psychiatric research misconduct. Lemmens and his co-authors write, “The RFP is in our opinion so flawed as to preclude any chance the resulting report will be seen as legitimate, except perhaps by those vindicated by it.”

Lemmens and his co-authors vow to continue pressing for a credible investigation at the University of Minnesota. They write, “We will persist with our efforts to see a transparent, independent investigation of the type we and so many others have been demanding. The members of the University of Minnesota community—including especially the patients treated and studied at your medical facilities—deserve no less.”

Trudo Lemmens’ latest blog post provides additional information concerning their request that President Kaler and the University of Minnesota Faculty Senate establish a legitimate independent investigation that examines the Markingson case, explores whether comparable cases exist, addresses both “past and present research practices, procedures, and guidelines”, and looks into the university’s response “when research involving human subjects goes wrong.”   

Individuals living near the Twin Cities campus are welcome to attend a panel session tomorrow afternoon at 12:15pm. The event, “When Research Subjects Die: The Case of Dan Markingson”, will be held in Moos 2-520.

Concerned citizens are also invited to ask donors to stop funding the University of Minnesota unless senior university administrators take action to protect vulnerable psychiatric research subjects.

There is also a call-in campaign in progress. Please consider contacting Governor Mark Dayton and Richard Beeson, Chair of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents, and urging them to establish an investigation of the death of Dan Markingson and related allegations of psychiatric research misconduct.

Universities are supposed to investigate allegations of research misconduct without citizens having to engage in such grassroots efforts but senior university officials have repeatedly failed to do the right thing. They must be held to account. If university administrators refuse to fulfill their obligation to protect vulnerable research subjects then someone outside the University of Minnesota must act.

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