PARIS — A man died in a French hospital Sunday after taking part in an experimental drug trial for a painkiller, and five other participants remain hospitalized after one of
France's most troubling medical incidents.
French prosecutors have launched a manslaughter investigation into the unusual case, which shined a spotlight on the practice of testing drugs on paid, healthy human volunteers.
The Portuguese pharmaceutical company testing the drug, Bial, said in a statement that it's working with health authorities to determine what caused "this tragic and unfortunate situation."
The Rennes University Hospital in western France announced the death but didn't identify the patient, who had already been in a state of brain death. He was among six male volunteers between 28 and 49 hospitalized last week after volunteering to take the drug. French health authorities have said three of the hospitalized volunteers face possible brain damage.
Bial said clinical trials started in June after toxicology tests and that 108 healthy people had already taken part in trials with no moderate or serious reactions.