Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Today we begin our journey from felons to models for the world


Beneath an inspiring tableau of maroon and gold flags, University of Minnesota administrators have announced their plans to transform the university from an object of international condemnation and disgrace to "a national model, meeting the highest standards of ethics and science."

The transformation from felon to national icon is scheduled to take place in five weeks. It will be led by an "Implementation Committee," whose aims will be to produce a "resource analysis," an "action plan" and of course, "accountability metrics."

To ensure that no one is actually punished for an eleven-year cover-up, the membership of the Implementation Committee will include a number of administrators who have refused to take action on the Markingson case for years. These members include Brian Herman, Brooks Jackson, Debra Dykhuis, Carolyn Wilson and Steve Miles, the co-director of the Research Ethics Consultation Service (who, when asked to look into the Markingson case in 2012, replied that failures of research oversight were "not remotely within the scope of my mandate.")

What about conflicts of interest, you ask?  Aren't conflicts of interest a problem?  Yes, absolutely, which is why the committee will be led by a Mayo Clinic physician who chaired the Mayo IRB while working with the pharmaceutical industry -- including AstraZeneca, the sponsor of the CAFE study.

For more on the story, have a look at Leigh Turner's post on Health in the Global Village.

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