Wednesday, February 10, 2016

"Practices in the Department of Psychiatry demonstrate a profound lack of knowledge about how to conduct clinical research."

Yet another external review of the University of Minnesota's Department of Psychiatry has turned up alarming problems.  That makes four (or six, depending on how you count) reviews of the department: all critical, all scathingly direct, all raising serious questions about practices that place research subjects in danger.

Kaler's solution?  "We've created a management response to the report."

UPDATE: The Star Tribune is on the story now.

Why psychiatrists should not recruit involuntarily committed patients into clinical trials

By Matt Lamkin and me, in JAMA Psychiatry:

Can an involuntarily committed psychiatric patient give truly voluntary consent for medical research? This question has been fiercely debated in Minnesota since 2008, when the St Paul Pioneer Press reported the death of Dan Markingson, a mentally ill young man who had been recruited into an antipsychotic study at the University of Minnesota while under a civil commitment order. Along with many others, we have argued that the circumstances of Markingson’s commitment order compromised the voluntariness of his consent to the study. Although federal guidelines are silent on the issue, we believe the Markingson case serves as a powerful argument for serious restrictions on the recruitment of involuntarily committed patients into psychiatric research studies.

Part of the article is behind the JAMA paywall, but if you work at the U and have a login password, you can find the entire article here.

“Big pharma buys #Superbowl ad to warn about the most pressing effect of opiates: constipation. Thanks. For nothing,” tweeted the police department in Burlington, Vt.




"Abigail Bozarth, an AstraZeneca spokeswoman, said the company’s goal was to 'open the door' for patients with opioid-induced constipation to talk with their doctors, 'which provides another important touch point to help ensure opioids are being appropriately used.'”

Stat has the story.

Cuddly bunnies strike back at their would-be executioner


The Mount St. Mary's scandal blew up yesterday, with new media coverage in (among other places) the Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun. At last count, the petition on behalf of the fired professors had reached 5008 signatures.

Photo courtesy of Professor Sam Cohen at the University of Missouri @cohenss



Tuesday, February 9, 2016

“This is hard for you because you think of the students as cuddly bunnies, but you can’t. You just have to drown the bunnies … put a Glock to their heads.”

Simon Newman, the new president of Mount Saint Mary's University, has got to be thinking, "Wait, did I say that out loud?"  But it doesn't matter: his Board is behind him, so the only people to get the ax are his unfortunate provost, who leaked emails to the student newspaper, and a couple of faculty members, at least one of whom had tenure.

Does it surprise anyone that Newman's previous job was with a private equity firm?

A letter of protest against the firings is circulating; you can sign it here.

Richard Nixon won the New Hampshire primary 3 times, more than any other candidate


According to the Richard Nixon Foundation.

"The idea that a university needs a discrete individual to be in charge of “integrity” or ethical conduct at all seems contrary to the very idea of a university as a place where learned people (teachers) instruct the to-be-learned in academic disciplines all of which have fairly well-understood ethical rules."

The University of North Carolina is creating a new position: "Chief Integrity Officer."

Press Millen, a Raleigh trial lawyer, is not impressed.