Legislative auditor to review drug trial practices at U of M - KMSP-TV

Legislative auditor to review drug trial practices at U of M

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

After a series of reports from the Fox 9 Investigators, Minnesota's legislative auditor will turn his eye to review 10 years of drug trials conducted by the University of Minnesota's Department of Psychiatry.

ORIGINAL REPORT: Side-effects of drug study?

After a second patient came forward about his experience, state lawmakers sent a letter to Jim Nobles and asked him to take action.

"We believe it is important to know how many subjects have died or been seriously injured in psychiatric research studies undertaken at the University," the letter read in part.

Nobles told FOX 9 News he will launch an investigation that looks at the past decade of drug trials -- including the case of Dan Markingson, a research subject who died trying to decapitate himself.

"Partly because of some of the reporting you've been doing, there has been heightened concern about what has happened at the University and the lack of openness by the University about what has happened," Nobles explained.

The investigation will also review the case of a man who told the Fox 9 Investigators he suffered serious side effects after being coerced to take part in a study for an experimental drug to treat schizophrenia.

"Then they say, 'You have a giant medical bill and if you do the research, you won't have this giant medical bill,'" he relayed.

Nobles said his office will work to determine if any deaths or injuries can be linked to the University of Minnesota's research, and he will also review how people were recruited and whether or not doctors committed ethical lapses after accepting money from drug companies to do the studies.

"I want to do it in a very responsible, appropriate, thoughtful way," Nobles said. "I don't want this to just continue and linger."

Former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson has also been following the Fox 9 Investigation and took a personal interest in the controversy. On Monday, he met with the U's president, Eric Kaler, to try to get some answers.

"You have victims in this," Carlson said. "You have real victims in this and your channel has pointed that out."

Kaler would not allow the Fox 9 Investigators into the meeting and refused to speak with Fox 9 Investigator Jeff Baillon afterward; however, Carlson and Kaler were behind closed doors for an hour.

"I think we're making progress," Carlson reflected. "It's a bit slow, but I think it's going to work out."

Critics of the U -- including some of its own professors -- hope the auditor's investigation will finally reveal what, if any, secrets the institution has been keeping from the public.

FROM THE FOX 9 ARCHIVE:

May 19, 2014: INVESTIGATORS: U of M drug study criticism grows

Dec. 5, 2013: U of M Senate resolves to review human research

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