French prosecutors open probe into fatal drug trial

PARIS Paris prosecutors said on Tuesday they have begun an involuntary manslaughter investigation into a failed drug trial that left one dead and five hospitalized in January.

The prosecutors’ office said the investigation had been opened to determine whether there was a criminal element in any mistakes made or whether it was simply the result of clinical risks involved.

France’s Health Ministry said last month that Portuguese drugmaker Bial and French laboratory Biotrial were at fault “on several counts” for the drug trial.

Participants in the phase I trial were given the experimental drug made by Bial at a private facility in the city of Rennes run by France’s Biotrial.

All trials of the drug, designed to treat mood and anxiety issues as well as coordination disorders linked to neurological issues, have been suspended.

(Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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