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Major news outlets worldwide are reporting that a clinical drug trial in France has left one braindead and five in hospital.
The oral trial was being conducted by a private laboratory in the north-western city of Rennes, [Health Minister] Marisol Touraine said.
The trial has been suspended and the firm is recalling the volunteers. It is unclear how many people are involved.
Media reports that the drug is a cannabis-based painkiller have been denied by the health ministry.
[…] The Paris prosecutor’s office said an investigation had been opened.
The BBC (quoted above) report that the cannabinoid content of the painkiller has been disputed by French officials, and that the source of the claim remains unconfirmed.
The Guardian reports that the accident occurred in the ‘Biotrial’ laboratory in Rennes, Brittany:
The ministry said the test was carried out by a private establishment “specialised in carrying out clinical trials”. Local media reported that the trial took place at the Biotrial clinic.
The trial was intended to test for side-effects of the new drug. All trials on the drug at the clinic have been suspended and the French state prosecutor has opened an inquiry.
The Independent explains that the painkiller was in early stages of testing:
Taken orally, it was undergoing a Phase 1 clinical trial at a licenced private European laboratory that specialises in clinical trials, the French health ministry said.
The trial aimed to evaluate the “safety, tolerance and pharmaceutical properties of the molecule” in healthy volunteers.
Local press in Rennes are providing rolling updates which you can read here.
We will keep you updated throughout the day as this story unfolds.
Stay tuned for more reaction.