Clinical trials gone wrong


In 2006, six men were hospitalised after taking an experimental immune stimulant designed to treat leukaemia and rheumatoid arthritis.

The subjects, who were all healthy and young, had to be admitted to intensive care, and were reported to have suffered a host of side effects, including pain, vomiting and organ failure.

One man suffered heart, kidney and liver failure, pneumonia and blood poisoning and was in a coma for three weeks.

While in the coma, he suffered a frostbite-like reaction and lost parts of his fingers and had his toes amputated.

Another man's head swelled up, and was described by his girlfriend as "the Elephant Man".

It was the first time the drug had been tested on humans.


In 2004, a 26-year-old man killed himself while participating in a year-long clinical trial.

The man, who had earlier showed signs of paranoia and suffered delusions, was reportedly entered into a trial for an anti-psychotic drug.

Six months after joining the study, he stabbed himself to death, leaving behind a suicide note.

In a separate incident in 1999, an 18-year-old boy died in a clinical trial.

The teen, who suffered from a liver disorder, participated in a gene-therapy experiment and was injected with a virus containing the corrective genes.

He died four days later, apparently having suffered multiple organ failure.


In 2010, 670 people reportedly died during clinical trials, according to data from the country's Health Ministry.

The number of fatalities during trials have risen steadily since 2007.

In 2011, it was reported that the country's national drug controller wanted companies, agents or sponsors to agree to provide compensation to subjects before beginning clinical trials there.

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