World

Medical trial in France leaves six people in serious condition

Paris: Six people are in a serious condition after taking part in a medical trial for an unnamed European laboratory to test a new drug, France's health ministry said on Friday.

The ministry did not say what the medicine was intended to be used for, but said the six volunteers, one of whom was in a coma, had been in good health until taking the oral medication at the clinic in Brittany, northern France.

One of the people is on life support and is considered brain dead, the ministry said. The treatment is being developed by a European drugmaker, according to statement, which didn't name the compound or its developer.

The six volunteers were taken to the University Hospital of Rennes, and others who took the treatment are being recalled.

The nation's drug safety agency ANSM plans to inspect the clinical trial site. Marisol Touraine, the French minister for health, said she will also travel to the hospital and hold a press briefing. Her office was informed of the incident on Thursday night.

Contrary to several reports in the French news media, the drug was not a cannabis-based painkiller, Touraine said.

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The Paris prosecutor's spokeswoman Agnes Thibaut-Lecuivre wasn't immediately available for comment. Press officers at the ANSM and at the Rennes hospital declined to comment.

"This test was carried out at a private facility specialised in carrying out clinical trials," the ministry said in a statement.

All trials on the drug have now been suspended.

Reuters, Bloomberg, New York Times

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