Institutional Pathology and the Death of Dan Markingson

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In the spring of 2015, 11 years after a mentally ill young man named Dan Markingson stabbed himself to death in an industry-sponsored drug study, officials at the University of Minnesota suspended recruitment of subjects into drug trials in its Department of Psychiatry. University officials agreed to act only after a scathing investigation by Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor found damning evidence of coerced recruitment, inadequate clinical care, superficial research oversight, a web of serious, disturbing conflicts of interest, and a pattern of misleading public statements by university officials aimed at deflecting scrutiny. In this article, I examine the larger institutional factors leading up to Markingson’s suicide and prevented corrective action for so long.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-79
Number of pages15
JournalAccountability in Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 17 2017


  • Conflict of interest
  • human subjects ethics
  • human subjects regulation and oversight
  • informed consent
  • misconduct in research
  • organizational and institutional ethics
  • research ethics
  • research ethics in university contexts
  • research on the mentally ill
  • vulnerable populations

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