Governor Mark Dayton of Minnesota: Investigate psychiatric research misconduct at the University of Minnesota
  • Petitioning Mark Dayton

This petition will be delivered to:

Governor of Minnesota
Mark Dayton

Governor Mark Dayton of Minnesota: Investigate psychiatric research misconduct at the University of Minnesota

    1. Mike Howard
    2. Petition by

      Mike Howard

      Cottage Grove, MN

In November 2003, psychiatrists at the University of Minnesota used the threat of involuntary commitment to force a mentally ill young man named Dan Markingson into a very profitable, industry-funded study of antipsychotic drugs. Dan was enrolled in the study over the objections of his mother, Mary Weiss. For months Mary tried desperately to get him out of the study, warning the psychiatrists that Dan’s condition was deteriorating and that he was in danger of killing himself. The psychiatrists refused to listen to her. On May 8, 2004, Dan committed suicide, and Mary lost her only child.

I feel privileged and humbled to have called Dan my friend. Because of a very unique situation I had a front row seat watching Dan’s resilience as he attempted to overcome not only his original mental and emotional crisis, but also the trauma that occurred when he was betrayed by those who were charged and licensed to provide care, healing and protection. For the past nine years Mary and I have tried unsuccessfully to have the University of Minnesota and its psychiatrists held accountable for Dan’s death. But Mary’s lawsuit against the university was dismissed on a technicality in 2009, and the university used legal threats to force her to give up her right of appeal.

Even so, Mary has refused to back down. In 2009, the Minnesota state legislature passed “Dan’s Law,” which prohibits researchers from recruiting a patient under an involuntary commitment order into a psychiatric drug study. Media outlets such as Mother Jones, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, City Pages and Scientific American have published accounts of Dan’s story. His story was also featured in the documentary film, Off Label. In 2010, AstraZeneca, the sponsor of the study in which Dan died, settled federal fraud charges for $520 million, and a University of Minnesota psychiatrist was implicated. Last year, the Minnesota Board of Social Work found serious wrongdoing by the study coordinator for the research study in which Dan died.

More recently, evidence of fraud and serious privacy violations in psychiatric studies at the university have emerged. It is possible that other research subjects have died or suffered serious injuries, or that they have been mistreated in other ways. Bioethicists at the University of Minnesota itself have called for an external investigation, yet the university still refuses.

I cannot tell anyone else what way of speaking out is most aligned with his or her own personal principles. However, I believe those of us who are personally affected by these issues must break the silence about the human rights violations inherent in coerced participation in psychiatric research. While University of Minnesota researchers used many unethical methods to force Dan to participate in this research study, the most egregious of them was fear. Dan was afraid that there was no alternative to taking part in the study, and that he would face a complete loss of liberty if he did not participate.

Given the repeated failure of university officials to act in good faith, I believe that the Governor of Minnesota, Mark Dayton, should appoint an external panel of experts to investigate ethical wrongdoing in psychiatric research at the University of Minnesota, including the circumstances surrounding Dan’s death. The panel should be given latitude to investigate the University of Minnesota human subject protection program, the Department of Psychiatry, the Office of the General Counsel, and any other university officials involved in the oversight of human research.

Let me finish by allowing Mary Weiss, Dan’s mother, to speak for herself.

Dan and I were very close. I have experienced more anguish than I thought humanly possible since Dan’s death. He had dreams, like everyone. He had a talent for creative writing, and he had hoped one day to write for The New Yorker magazine. Unfortunately, his unfinished life robbed him of this dream. In fact, his short time on earth took many dreams from him, and also from me. The things he wished for, I wanted him to realize. Please demand an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Dan’s death, and help ensure no other family ever suffers such a loss from unregulated and improperly supervised clinical trials. Please sign the petition below. Help us find justice, not vengeance.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. April 25 event: “When Research Subjects Die: The Case of Dan Markingson”

      Mike Howard
      Petition Organizer

      When Research Subjects Die: The Case of Dan Markingson

      Friday, April 25, Moos 2-520
      Presentation and Discussion
      Carl Elliott, MD PhD Center for Bioethics
      And Families of Psychiatric Research Subjects
      (Pizza lunch provided)
      https://www.facebook.com/events/237089983081298/
      Sponsored by Advancing Urban Health Equity

      Friday, April 25, Moos 2-520
      Presentation and Discussion
      Carl Elliott, MD PhD Center for Bioethics
      And Families of Psychiatric Research Subjects
      (Pizza lunch provided)
      https://www.facebook.com/events/237089983081298/
      Sponsored by Advancing Urban Health Equity

      When Research Subjects Die: The Death of Dan Markingson | Facebook

      When Research Subjects Die: The Death of Dan Markingson | Facebook

    2. New campaigns to force action on psychiatric research abuse

      Mike Howard
      Petition Organizer

      Last week we started a call-in campaign to Gov. Mark Dayton and Board of Regents Chair Richard Beeson asking them to take action to end research abuse at the University of Minnesota. This week, we are extending the campaign. We're asking supporters to write letters to major donors. We would like donors to consider ending their financial support until the university takes action to stop research abuse.

      To find out more the campaigns and how to help, have a look at the statements at this address:

      www.danmarkingson.com

    3. More psychiatric research abuse at the University of Minnesota

      Mike Howard
      Petition Organizer

      Television station KMSP has aired an excellent investigative report on psychiatric research abuse at the University of Minnesota, including an interview with a research subject who was confined to a locked unit at Fairview Hospital and coerced into a study of an experimental antipsychotic drug. You can watch the video at this link:

      http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/story/23994239/investigators-side-effects-of-drug-study

    4. Video online from Northwestern:Carl Elliott on the Markingson case

      Mike Howard
      Petition Organizer

      In August 2012, at an NIH-sponsored conference at Northwestern University, Carl Elliott spoke about the death of Dan Markingson.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajCZIyT4iaU

    5. Scholars say university must investigate suicide in research study

      Mike Howard
      Petition Organizer

      Over one hundred seventy leading scholars in health law, bioethics and medical research have called on the University of Minnesota to investigate the 2004 death of a psychiatric research subject, charging that university administrators have ”refused to publicly engage in a transparent, open, and critical assessment of what went wrong in this study.” The letter, led by Trudo Lemmens, the Scholl Chair of Health Law and Policy at the University of Toronto, and five colleagues from leading U.S. institutions, urges the Faculty Senate of the University of Minnesota to request an immediate, public inquiry into the troubled study.

      Read more at www.danmarkingson.com or at this address:

      bit.ly/1chta6L

    6. Reached 3,000 signatures
    7. Pay no attention to the bloody corpse in the bathroom

      Mike Howard
      Petition Organizer
      Pay No Attention to the Bloody Corpse in the Bathroom

      Imagine for minute that you work in a medical school. Your job is to make sure that human subjects in medical experiments are protected from harm. Then imagine that you learn there has been a horrific, unexpected death in a psychiatric study.

    8. Bringing medical wrongdoing into the light

      Mike Howard
      Petition Organizer
    9. Fact-checking claims of exoneration by the University of Minnesota

      Mike Howard
      Petition Organizer

      Why have so many reporters failed to fact-check the University of Minnesota's claims of exoneration?

      http://www.healthnewsreview.org/2013/05/questions-journalists-should-ask-about-a-psych-drug-trial-suicide/

      Call for fact-checking over transcription: Questions journalists should ask about a psych drug trial suicide - HealthNewsReview.org

      The following is a guest post by Carl Elliott MD, PhD, a professor in the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota and a writer with credits many journalists would envy. ------------- Five years ago, the St. Paul Pioneer Press the violent death of Dan Markingson in an industry-sponsored antipsychotic study at the University of Minnesota.

    10. The suicide of Dan Markingson "is not a scandal"?

      Mike Howard
      Petition Organizer

      The Dean of Medicine at the University of Minnesota has written an op-ed in the Minneapolis Star Tribune claiming that the suicide of Dan Markingson is "not a scandal" and that no further investigation is needed. Please consider registering your disagreement with an online comment.

      http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/207795501.html

      University of Minnesota research case is not a scandal

      In a May 13 commentary ("U research case needs a close look"), University of Minnesota faculty member Carl Elliott called for yet another investigation into the tragic death of Dan Markingson, a patient who was battling schizophrenia. Markingson took his own life in 2003 while taking part in a clinical trial aimed at treating his condition.

    11. Reached 2,500 signatures
    12. An Open Letter to Governor Mark Dayton

      Mike Howard
      Petition Organizer

      In the Minneapolis Star Tribune, an open letter to Governor Mark Dayton requesting an investigation of psychiatric research at the University of Minnesota.

      http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/206995561.html

      University of Minnesota research case needs scrutiny

      An open letter to Gov. Mark Dayton: Last week marks nine years since a young man from St. Paul named Dan Markingson committed a violent suicide while enrolled in a psychiatric research study at the University of Minnesota.

    13. Off Label documentary film in competition at film festival in Twin Cities

      Mike Howard
      Petition Organizer

      The remarkable documentary film Off Label will be screened at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival on Friday, April 26 at 7:10 pm and Saturday, April 27 at 3 pm. Mike Palmieri and Donal Mosher, the directors of the film, will be present at both screenings for a Q&A. The death of Dan Markingson in the CAFE study is one of the stories in Off Label, and Dan's mother, Mary Weiss, will be present for both screenings. If you live in the Twin Cities and would like to meet other supporters of the petition in person, please consider coming.

      You can see a trailer for the film and reviews here:
      http://offlabelfilm.com/

      And here is where to order tickets:
      http://www.mspfilmfest.org/MMXIII/content/label

      There will also be a free screening of the film for University of Minnesota students and faculty at 3:30 on Friday afternoon in Mayo 3-125.

    14. Background material for further reading

      Mike Howard
      Petition Organizer

      If you are thinking of signing on but want to know more, have a look at these links:

      Making a Killing, Mother Jones, August/September 2010
      http://www.scribd.com/doc/36883035/Making-a-Killing-by-Carl-Elliott

      Dan Markingson had delusions, St. Paul Pioneer Press, May 18, 2008
      http://www.twincities.com/ci_9292549

      A referenced summary of the Dan Markingson case
      http://markingson.blogspot.com/

      Charles Schulz under scrutiny for Seroquel study suicide, City Pages, February 2, 2011
      http://www.citypages.com/2011-02-02/news/charles-schulz-under-scrutiny-for-seroquel-study-suicide/

    15. Reached 2,000 signatures
    16. The petition gains momentum

      Mike Howard
      Petition Organizer

      Some recent news coverage of the petition:

      Petition for outside U of M investigation picks up high-profile supporters

      http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/2013/04/petition_for_outside_u_of_m_investigation.php

      Bad Blood of Research, Medical Journal of Australia

      http://www.mjainsight.com.au/view?post=Jane+McCredie:+Bad+blood+of+research&post_id=12622&cat=comment&mo=1

      Why the University of Minnesota psychiatric research scandal must be investigated

      http://www.minnpost.com/community-voices/2013/03/why-university-minnesota-psychiatric-research-scandal-must-be-investigated

      Petition for outside U of M investigation picks up high-profile supporters

      Photo courtesy Mary Weiss. A petition asking Gov. Mark Dayton to order an independent investigation into the 2004 suicide of a patient enrolled in a University of Minnesota clinical drug trial has picked up more than 1,700 signatures over the past three weeks. Among them: three former editors of The New England Journal of Medicine.

    17. Reached 1,500 signatures
    18. Alice Dreger of Northwestern: The Worst of All Possible IRB Worlds

      Mike Howard
      Petition Organizer

      Read her blog post about the case and the petition at Psychology Today:

      http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fetishes-i-dont-get/201303/the-worst-all-possible-irb-worlds

    19. Matt Lamkin of Stanford Law writes: Investigate the University of Minnesota

      Mike Howard
      Petition Organizer
    20. Reached 750 signatures
    21. Petition signatures pass 600 mark

      Mike Howard
      Petition Organizer

      In just five days, over 600 people have signed the petition to investigate the psychiatric research scandals at the University of Minnesota. Recent signatories include Professor Susan Reverby, the Wellesley historian who uncovered the US-led syphilis experiments in Guatemala; Dr. Jerome Kassirer, the former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine; Vera Sharav, the founder of the Alliance for Human Research Protection; Professor Charles Bosk, the University of Pennsylvania sociologist who wrote the classic book on medical error, Forgive and Remember; Alan Milstein, the attorney who successfully held the University of Pennsylvania accountable for the death of research subject Jesse Gelsinger; and over seventy scholars specializing in research ethics, health law and related disciplines.

      We believe this represents excellent progress for the launch of the petition. But please pass the petition along, and encourage your friends to sign. And thank you so much for your support!

    22. Reached 500 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Janet Merrill MINNEAPOLIS, MN
      • 1 day ago

      The mind is a wonderful thing. Research needs some oversight.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Deborah L Cressler GALLION, AL
      • 4 days ago

      A person should not have to be coerced and blackmailed like this by anyone. This needs to be investigated for illegal practices and not protecting Dan. When we as a nation can allow a sick person to be used as an experimental guinea pig we are no better than Hitlers regime. Read this article if they allow it to be posted. http://junkscience.com/2014/03/08/leo-alexander-explains-why-physicians-become-monsters

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Eres Mush VAN NUYS, CA
      • 6 days ago

      I want this drugging this society to stop

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Felice Eliscu WAUSAU, WI
      • 7 days ago

      Psychiatry is the CRIME OF THE CENTURY. It robs people of their mind, soul and body. PSYCHIATRY WILL BE ABOLISHED AND SEEN FOR THE FRAUD AND TORTURE IT REALLY IS!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Brendan Taylor EAST GREENBUSH, NY
      • 8 days ago

      It is horrifying reading multiple instances of the pharmaceutical industries terrible acts to turn a profit. I have post-finasteride syndrome, from the drug propecia. I am so sorry for the loss of Dan and am touched by this story. My thoughts are continually with you, and I will be hoping for a resolution to this tragic story.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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