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

The U of M has previously denied request for an outside probe, citing previous investigations.
The U of M has previously denied request for an outside probe, citing previous investigations.
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. Dozens of academics have also signed, along with a former editor of the British Medical Journal and Susan Reverby, a professor at Wellesley College who uncovered the U.S.-led syphilis experiments in Guatemala.

'Corrective Action' issued to former U of M employee
U of M Board of Regents won't reopen the case

The petition is just the latest in a saga that began about nine years ago, when 26-year-old Dan Markingson stabbed himself to death while participating in an experimental anti-psychotic drug study funded by AstraZeneca.

In the aftermath of the death, the college has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, pointing to several state and federal investigations that cleared those who worked on the study.

But Markingson's family and U of M bioethicist/author Carl Elliot have continued to push for further investigation. In 2010, Elliot and seven others in the U's bioethics department called for the Board of Regents to reopen the case, alleging that a number of serious ethical lapses on the part of U of M researchers contributed to Markingson's death. The Regents denied the request, citing the previous investigations.

Mike Howard, a friend of Markingson's family who has been active in the push to reopen the case, says the petition is another attempt to get an outside investigation.

"It needs to be totally independent, to look at everything," he says. "That's all people want. Just the truth."

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >