2 Feb 2016

French drug trial death: interview with victim’s brother

It was a drug trial for a compound called BIA 10-2474. It was being tested for use as a painkiller or analgesic for cancers and people with Parkinson’s Disease.

But during the trial in Rennes, one man fell into a coma and died. Five other volunteers were taken to hospital. Four of them had neurological problems of varying degrees.

The health minister, at a press conference, described what happened as “an accident of exceptional gravity”.

The man who died was Guillaume Molinet. A 49-year-old father of four, who was a painter, singer, composer and poet.

And now his brother, Laurent, has spoken exclusively to Channel 4 News. It is heartrending, listening to him.

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For 20 years they had collaborated. Guillaume was the manager of his composer brother’s career. He wrote the words and Laurent the music.

Now, he is dead and nobody knows why.

At first Biotrial, which was testing a compound for the Portuguese company, Bial, thought he had a stroke and that it was unrelated to the drug trial.

But then the others began to suffer. Now there are three separate investigations but as yet the family knows little.

Laurent Molinet told us: “At first they thought that Guillaume had an AVC (a stroke) but quickly just find it wasn’t an AVC.

“It is just a nightmare. Just you see your brother in the bed, just telling to my brother, please, come on, we are leaving now. It is time for you to come with me. We are just leaving the hospital now. No way. My brother he was just lying in the bed. It was really awful.”

Channel 4 News has learned, too, that Guillaume was intitally only meant to be on standby for the trial. But that one volunteer dropped out

Laurent Molinet said: “He told me I am going to do the trial on Monday and I will be home on Wednesday. I am not going to do the tests. ”

But he did, receiving doses of the compound between Wednesday, January 6 and Sunday, January 10.

Biotrial has said he complained of not feeling well on the Sunday and was sent to accident and emergency that evening, as a precaution.

They continued the trial, believing his condition was unrelated to the trial. But when they heard he had apparently had a stroke, they discontinued it.

It is exceptionally rare for a clinical trial to go wrong. They are carefully planned, rigorously controlled, They have all sorts of outside authorities having to give their approval. But when they do go wrong the consequences are devastating

Biotrial said they still did not know what had caused Guillaume’s death
But they added

“The five volunteers are being monitored. One of them is not displaying any symptoms, although he has had anxiety issues. The situation is variable for the other four. They have all returned home. Some of them are receiving rehabilitation. It’s too soon to know what the long term effects will be.”

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