Investigation Demanded In Minnesota

In Minnesota, the same state where Ray Sanford, the subject of a successful MindFreedom International campaign against forced shock, resides, University Professors are calling for an investigation of the suicide of a man who was taking part in psychiatry drug testing trials conducted at the University of Minnesota. Medcity News covered the story with an article, U. of Minnesota profs demand investigation of drug trial death.

Led by Dr. Carl Elliott, the professors demand the regents appoint an independent outside panel of experts to examine the death of Dan Markingson, a mentally ill patient who killed himself after taking an experimental psychiatric drug developed by AstraZeneca. The professors accuse the school of several ethics violations, including financial conflict of interest and enrolling Markingson even though he may have been too sick to consent.

Mother Jones magazine published an article by Dr. Elliott in its October edition dealing with Dan Markingson and the clinical drug trials that may have been responsible for his death.

If ever there were a case that warranted further investigation, I would say it was this one.

Markingson committed suicide in May 2004 after taking Seroquel, a psychiatric drug developed by AstraZeneca. Mary Weiss, Markingson’s mother, accused the university of of forcibly enrolling her son in the clinical trial even though Markingson was under an involuntary commitment order and may have been mentally incompetent to consent to the treatment.

Should involuntary patients be used as guinea pigs? Should people, over the age of consent, be mistreated against their wishes?

Elliott also said new evidence suggests the company rigged the trial to show positive results.

We can only hope that officials in Minnesota will respond positively to this call for an independent investigation. My understanding is that there may be more Ray Sanfords out there who have chosen not to fight their forced shock in that state as well. I don’t see how developing a reputation for mistreating mental patients, and trampling roughshod over their human rights, could be seen as a good reputation. Should such an investigation be conducted, let us hope that the result of it will be that the citizens of Minnesota pressure their politicians to say sayonara to such an atrocious track record of abuse.