A drug trial for a private pharmaceutical firm at a clinic in north-west France has left one man brain dead and five more hospitalized in serious condition.
Reportedly, the volunteers, all male and between the ages of 28 and 49, were undergoing a Phase 1 clinical trial for a European firm until things took a turn for the worse this week — they had only started the trial on January 7, 2016.
Three days later on Sunday, one patient reportedly fell ill and arrived at the hospital, five more following just days later.
The head of the neurology department of the hospital treating the volunteers told reporters that one man was brain dead; three others were suffering neurological problems as well as a “handicap that could be irreversible.”
While it’s not entirely known what caused such an adverse reaction in the volunteers, the trial was intended to test the side-effects and safety of the new drug — however, all tests have been suspended and the other 90 volunteers have been recalled.
The French Agency for the Safety of Health Products, the General Inspectorate of Social Affairs, and even the health branch of the Paris prosecutor’s office have decided to investigate the matter seriously.
"This is unprecedented," French Health Minister Marisol Touraine said on Friday. "We'll do everything to understand what happened."
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