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Mar 26, 2013

MindFreedom International endorses petition asking the governor of Minnesota, Mark Dayton, to investigate research misconduct!

Dan Markingson and his mother, Mary Weiss
photo via MotherJones

via MindFreedom International:

Forced experimentation on psychiatrically labeled people – think it can’t happen here in the US?  Sadly, evidence indicates it has happened, and that it played a part in at least one death.   MindFreedom International is now endorsing a petition, asking the governor of Minnesota, Mark Dayton, to investigate!

The petition concerns the case of Dan Markingson, a young man labeled and involuntarily committed, who was coerced into an industry-sponsored antipsychotic study at the University of Minnesota in 2003.  A “stay of commitment” order compelled him to obey the recommendations of his psychiatrist, who was conducting the antipsychotic study; his mother attempted to speak up for him, warning that he was doing poorly in the study and was in danger of killing himself, but University of Minnesota researchers ignored her warnings.  On May 8, 2004, Markingson committed suicide. 

Although the case has been highly controversial since it became public in 2008, University of Minnesota officials have repeatedly claimed that the university bears no responsibility for Markingson’s death.  A lawsuit against the university was dismissed on grounds of “sovereign immunity. “  Afterwards, attorneys for the university filed an action against Dan’s mother demanding payment of $57,000 in legal costs.

 Seriously, the university filed a legal action against the mother, rather than look into what went wrong!  They have continued to deny responsibility despite the fact that 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 appeared to be involved.  Last year, the Minnesota Board of Social Work found serious wrongdoing by the study coordinator for the research study in which Dan died.  It is possible that other research subjects have died or suffered serious injuries, or that they have been mistreated in other ways.

After many unsuccessful attempts to have the case investigated by an external research oversight body, Dan’s mother Mary Weiss and her friend, Mike Howard, have petitioned the governor to appoint an external panel to look into the death and other possible research misconduct in the Department of Psychiatry.   Early supporters of the petition include James Gottstein, the director of PsychRights; Marcia Angell, Arnold Relman and Jerome Kassirer, all former editors of New England Journal of Medicine; Michael Carome of Public Citizen and a former official with the federal Office of Research Protection; and Susan Reverby, the historian who uncovered the US-led syphilis experiments in Guatemala, which led to a presidential apology in 2010. 
The petition has also been signed by over 150 experts in medical ethics, law and health professions. 

Sign the petition at this link:

To take further action in support for the petition, contact:
Eric Kaler
President, University of Minnesota
202 Morrill Hall 100 Church Street S.E. University of Minnesota ?Minneapolis, MN 554
Phone: 612-626-1616 Fax: 612-625-3875

Mark Dayton
Office of the Governor 130 State Capitol 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. ?St. Paul, MN 55155 
Telephone: 651-201-3400 Toll Free: 800-657-3717 

For more information on the controversy:
Carl Elliott, “Making a Killing,” Mother Jones

For more information on MindFreedom’s role in stopping involuntary electroconvulsive therapy on Ray Sandford, a Minnesota resident, see

See also:
Jeremy Olson and Paul Tosto, “Dan Markingson had Delusions,” St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Andy Mannix, “Charles Schulz under Scrutiny for Seroquel Study Suicide,” City Pages,

Media contact for petition: Carl Elliott,

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