INVESTIGATORS: Robert's case still secret amid U of M's commitment to improve

Last spring, the Fox 9 Investigators profiled the case of Robert, who says he was "coerced" to take part in a U of M drug study for the treatment of schizophrenia. Robert told us the test drug made him sick. He went to the emergency room three times complaining of severe abdominal pain. He says it got so bad, he contemplated suicide.

Fox 9 Investigators, May 19, 2014: Robert's story

Medical records show the doctor in charge of the research dismissed Robert's symptoms as being psychosomatic. The study drug never was approved because of safety concerns.

After seeing our story, Dr. Carl Elliott, an expert on medical ethics, filed a formal complaint with the University asking for an investigation of Robert's case. Records show that review was completed last September.

The Fox 9 Investigators asked the University for a copy of the report months ago. By law, they're supposed to do it, but every time we check on the status, we're told it's not ready yet.

"What did they find, and why did they refuse to make those findings public?" Dr. Elliott questioned.

We've learned that in December, the University spent $25,000 to hire an outside consulting firm to examine Robert's case. In an interview 3 weeks ago, the Vice President of Research said the report would be made public soon. Now, his office says it will be at least another two weeks.

"I can't get a simple answer to my complaint after 16 months," Dr. Elliott said.

This is all happening after last week's scathing report from Minnesota's legislative auditor who called out the University's administration and Board of Regents for not looking deeper into the case of Dan Markingson, who committed suicide while enrolled in a different psychiatric drug study.

Fox 9 Investigators, March 19, 2015: Legislative auditor criticizes U of M

The University claims it can, and will, do better. The question remains: Why is the investigation into Robert's case still being kept secret?
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