Investigate a psychiatric drug suicide in Minnesota, USA

Dear friends and supporters,

We are writing to express our gratitude to you for signing the petition asking Governor Dayton to investigate the suicide of Dan Markingson at the University of Minnesota. We have been overwhelmed by your support. The petition has passed 2000 signatures, and in Minnesota we are seeing clear evidence that it is having an effect.

Even so, we need more help. To get the attention of Minnesota legislators and the press, we need more signatures. We would be grateful if you could considering forwarding this email, with the summary below, to your friends, family members and anyone else who might be willing to sign on. Only with a thorough, impartial investigation can we know the circumstances surrounding Dan’s death and whether there were other victims like him.

Thank you again.

Mary Weiss, Mike Howard and Carl Elliott

In Nov 2003, psychiatrists at the University of Minnesota used the threat of involuntary commitment to force a mentally ill young man named Dan Markingson into a profitable, industry-funded study of antipsychotic drugs. Dan, who was mentally incapable of giving informed consent, was recruited into the study over the objections of his mother, Mary Weiss.

For months Mary tried desperately to get him out of the study, warning the psychiatrists that Dan’s condition was deteriorating and that he was in danger of killing himself. The psychiatrists refused to listen to her. On 8 May 2004, Dan committed suicide, and Mary lost her only child.

For the past 9 years Mary has tried every means possible to have Dan’s death investigated, but the University of Minnesota has denied responsibility. Even worse, when a court ruled that the university, as a state institution, had immunity from a lawsuit, the university filed a legal action against Mary, demanding $57,000 to cover part of its legal fees.

Last month Mary Weiss and her friend Mike Howard started a petition to Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, asking for an external investigation. So far over 2000 people have signed, including three former editors of The New England Journal of Medicine, a former editor of the British Medical Journal, the editor of The Lancet, and over 200 scholars in medical ethics, health law and the health professions.

Dr Laurence Kirmayer, Chair of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry at McGill University, calls the scandal “a breach of trust that casts a pall on the university and the psychiatric community.”

Dr Richard Smith, the former editor of the British Medical Journal writes: “There is clear evidence that something went badly wrong.”

Dr Michael Carome of Public Citizen and a former official in the federal Office of Human Research protection writes, “It is imperative that an external, independent investigation be conducted into the disturbing circumstances that led to the suicide of Dan Markingson.”

Professor Helen Longino, Chair of Philosophy at Stanford and a former faculty member at the University of Minnesota, asks, “Do you really want the great University of Minnesota to become an academic pariah?”

We ask that you join us in calling on Governor Mark Dayton to investigate the University of Minnesota. Take action right away:

1. Go to and sign the petition. (If the link if broken, use a Google search for Petition Governor Mark Dayton to investigate research misconduct.)

2. Forward this email to family and friends or post a link to the petition via Facebook and Twitter.

For more information, see the following documents:

Carl Elliott, “Making a Killing,” Mother Jones

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

Beth Hawkins, “As Rotenberg leaves U, left behind is petition on Markingson case, MinnPost

A referenced summary of the Dan Markingson investigation with links to court documents