Dan Markingson's 2004 suicide: U of M Board of Regents won't reopen the case

The University of Minnesota's Board of Regents will not organize an independent investigation into the events surrounding Dan Markingson's 2004 suicide, according to a letter signed by Regents Chair Clyde Allen.

Allen's statement is a response to a November 23 letter authored by eight U of M bioethicists, which suggested a series of ethical lapses may have contributed to Markingson killing himself while enrolled in a drug study through the college, called Comparison of Atypicals in First Episode, or CAFE.

The CAFE study was funded by AstraZeneca, creator of Seroquel, one of the drugs being tested.

Echoing previous statements from the U of M on this matter, Allen's response notes that the case has already been investigated by the Food and Drug Administration, the Minnesota Attorney General's Office, and the courts -- all of which found no violations on part of U of M researchers.

"We do not believe further University resources should be expended by re-reviewing a matter such as this, which has already received such exhaustive analysis by independent authoritative bodies," writes Allen.

The letter does not address a related complaint against U of M Department of Psychiatry Chair Dr. Charles Schulz, who was the subject of our February 2 feature, Dr. Mindbender.

Schulz was the co-investigator in the CAFE study, and has received more than $86,000 from AstraZeneca over the years.

Mike Howard, a friend of Markingson's family, submitted the complaint against Schulz to the Board of Regents in December 2009. In it, Howard accuses Schulz of allowing pharmaceutical companies to use his name on studies he did not write or research, hiding negative research results, and violating other college ethics policies.

For his part, Schulz says he has done nothing wrong, and denies having violated any ethics policies.

This complaint is still pending, confirms a U of M spokesman. The results are expected in the next couple weeks.

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