Monday, March 19, 2012

A brief history of recent medical scandals at the University of Minnesota

For those who are new to the U and wondering about the public beating being administered in response to the latest scandal in the School of Nursing, here's a rundown of some of the other recent scandals in the Academic Health Center:

The chair of laboratory medicine and pathology secretly funnels $500,00 in university grant money to his private company and sells it for $9.5 million in stock.  The dean puts him in charge of developing a new ethics policy.


Two professors are indicted for fraud and double-dipping in Georgia.  They still hold their positions at the university.

The chief of spine surgery is targeted by the US Senate for failing to disclose over a million dollars in consulting fees from Medtronic. He is not disciplined.

A mentally ill young man is coerced into an industry-sponsored drug study over the objections of his mother and commits suicide.  The university refuses calls for an external panel to investigate.

The chair of psychiatry is implicated in the manipulation of research data (twice) by a pharmaceutical company.  The vice-president of the AHC responds: "I think the role of university professors, particularly in health sciences, is to engage with the pharmaceutical industry and the device industry." 

Add to that the newspaper reports of financial mismanagement, misappropriation of research funds and double-dipping, snooping into private medical records, and falsifying scientific data, and it's no wonder people are upset.  But will anything change?

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