The ALG Controversy: A Timeline

1967: Dr. John Najarian joins the University Hospital and Clinic as chief of surgery. The physician begins the Minnesota Anti-Lympocyte Globulin Program.
Transplant patients received ALG to prevent their bodies from rejecting transplant tissue after an operation. Researchers derived the experimental drug from a genetic blend of human cells and horse blood.

1970: Najarian applies to the Food and Drug Administration to use ALG as an investigational drug. Under FDA codes, the University can distribute ALG, but cannot sell the drug.

1971: The University begins distributing — and selling — ALG nationally, against FDA regulations.

June 1992: The University Department of Audits investigates the ALG program for the second time, reviving a 1989 investigation. An inspection by the Food and Drug Administration discloses 29 potential violations of FDA regulations.

August 13, 1992: The FDA halts national distribution of ALG.

September 10, 1992: University officals fire Richard Condie, director of the ALG program since 1971, after reviewing an internal audit showing Condie illegally profited from selling hemoglobin, a by-product of ALG. According to audits, Condie received $62,102 between 1988 and 1992 for selling hemoglobin to Ontario-based Hemosol Inc.

November 11, 1992: Then-University President Nils Hasselmo directs an investigation into ALG management.

February 11, 1993: At the request of President Nils Hasselmo, Najarian resigns as chairman of the Department of Surgery, but remains clinical chief of surgery for the University Hospital and Clinic.

February 18, 1993: Robert Anderson announces his resignation as health sciences vice president.

June 8, 1993: Dr. David Brown resigns as Medical School dean.

July 8, 1993: An independent auditing firm releases an analysis of the Medical School, documenting numerous problems within the school.

October 5, 1993: The FBI and IRS search the offices of the Department of Surgery Associates for business and financial records of its chief financial officer, James Coggins, and Dr. John Najarian.

October 18, 1993: The process to remove Najarian from his tenured faculty position begins. James Coggins, senior administrator of the Department of Surgery, is fired.

December 5, 1994: The Institutional Review Board withdraws Najarian’s privilege to do research involving human subjects.

February 1995: Dr. James Zissler sues the University criticizing conflicts of interest in the Medical School and asking for documents to support his case.

February 20, 1995: Najarian resigns from the University Medical School faculty.

August 14, 1995: The National Institutes of Health informs the University in a letter that it has been designated an “exceptional organization” beginning Oct. 1, 1995.

February 13, 1996: Federal District Court Judge Richard Kyle dismisses six of the 22 counts against Najarian.

February 21, 1996: A jury acquits Najarian of the remaining counts.

December 19, 1996: The Department of Justice files suit against the University in conjunction with Zissler asking for more than $107 million in damages and penalties.

May 1997: The False Claims Act portion of the suit is thrown out; Zissler is not able to collect any money.