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Six in hospital after French pain relief drug trial goes wrong

Six people have been hospitalised after a drug trial went terribly wrong at the Pontchaillou Hospital in Rennes in France. One has been declared brain-dead, and four others are in critical condition. Ninety participants in the trial have been asked to contact the hospital.

According to preliminary reports, the trial was of a drug aimed at inhibiting the brain enzyme that degrades endogenous cannabinoids, chemicals produced naturally by the brain that resemble the active compounds in cannabis.

The drug is being developed by Portuguese firm Bial. It was a “phase one” trial, in which a new drug that has been tested in animals is tested for the first time in humans. The idea is to make sure it is safe, and to measure its effects. Usually a range of relatively low doses are used in such trials.

In a press conference on Friday afternoon, French health minister Marisol Touraine...

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