PARIS, France –
A man died in a French hospital Sunday after taking part in a drug trial for a painkiller based on a compound similar to cannabis, 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. Scores of others were also given the drug.
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 drug is aimed at easing pain and mood and anxiety troubles, as well as motor problems linked to neurodegenerative illnesses.
The Rennes University Hospital in western France announced the death in a statement, 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…