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.

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2 Responses

  1. I, too, am a Seroquel victim. The drug was prescribed to me while I was an involuntary patient at the University of Michigan Hospital. I was given a computer print-out of the drug’s side effects. Minimal side effects were included on this sheet. I continued taking Seroquel under the advice of my Psychiatrist. While on the drug I gaine approximately 75 pounds. My personal care physician diagnosed me with Diabetes. After all of this, my depression worsened. I asked my Psychiatrist to taper me off this drug. He refused. Therefore, I weaned myself from the drug. After this drug was out of my system, I lost, on averaga a POUND a day. I am now back at a healthy weight. However, the propensity for high blood sugars remains with me. I am shocked that after all the class action lawsuits out against the drug, Seroquel is still on the market. I have noticed, to my horror, a huge advertising campaign going on right now promoting Seroquel XR on every media platform. There is a 3 page ad in this week’s TIME magazine. Ads permeate TV, newspapers and the Internet. I believe this to be criminal. I have since dumped all Psychiatrists, am medication free, and doing quite well…better, in fact, than when I was receiving treatment. The dangers of this drug need to be brought under a bright spotlight, and Astra Zeneca needs to be held accountable. I wish some organization, somewhere, had the resources to mount a counter-ad campaign. Most psychiatrists are unaware of the dangerous side effects of the drugs they dispense, randomly, like candy. However, ignorance is not an excuse. Any ideas out there?

    • I’ve a friend who was jumping onto one of these class action suits against AstraZeneca due to the diabetes she developed while taking seroquel. Did people understand the consequences of taking some of these drugs, they wouldn’t take them. I simply don’t think consent is informed in the way that it should be. You look at these ads on the internet, and on tv, and it’s so easy to miss side-effect after side-effect run down so long as you are just attending to the ad. You know how bad these side-effects can be, and I would think that would give you an idea as to why neuroleptic drugs shouldn’t be peddled for severe depression. The drugs don’t discriminate when it comes to harmful effects. They certainly don’t make people happy. The problem with this drug business is that the psychiatric industry is pushing the idea that if one drug doesn’t work another will. This can blind a person to the harm being done when the side-effects are less severe. Those less severe effects don’t mean the drugs aren’t damaging, or even that they are doing less damage. Did doctors look for other non-chemical ways of treatment, they’d be saving lives. I have no question about that.

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