Saturday, April 20, 2013

Stonewalling 101 at the University of Minnesota


If you ever need a course in Stonewalling 101, you might want to think about the University of Minnesota, which is offering a clinic in how to say no to open records requests.

When I asked for information about AstraZeneca’s infamous Study 41, the university’s response was, “We destroyed those records.”  When I asked for redacted versions of the disputed “evaluation to consent” forms for the CAFÉ and CATIE studies, the university’s response was, “Privacy law prevents us from giving those to you.”  And now, in response to my request for information about a pharmaceutical industry gift to Stephen Olson, the principal investigator for the CAFÉ study, the response is, “The university does not have those records.”  

Of course, I was given no explanation why the university does not have the records I requested.  Olson told the IRB that CAFÉ study records would be kept for a minimum of 15 years, and this document from the lawsuit in response to the death of Dan Markingson makes it clear that the “gift” to Olson was explained in the documents I have requested.  

Apparently the University of Minnesota has learned that it can simply defy state open records laws and there will be no consequences.

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