Health Care

French prosecutors open probe into fatal drug trial

FILE - This Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 file photo shows a logo of the Biotrial laboratory  displayed on its building in Rennes, western France. France’s health minister has presented a plan to tighten up the rules regarding human drug trials following an experimental test that killed a volunteer in January. (AP Photo/David Vincent, File)

FILE - This Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 file photo shows a logo of the Biotrial laboratory displayed on its building in Rennes, western France. France’s health minister has presented a plan to tighten up the rules regarding human drug trials following an experimental test that killed a volunteer in January. (AP Photo/David Vincent, File)

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.

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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.