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Six taken ill after drug trials

Six men remain in intensive care after being taken ill during a clinical drugs trial in north-west London.

The healthy volunteers were testing an anti-inflammatory drug at a research unit based at Northwick Park Hospital when they suffered a reaction.

Relatives are with the patients, who suffered multiple organ failure. Two men are said to be critically ill.

An investigation has begun at the unit, run by Parexel, which said it followed recommended guidelines in its trial.

The men were being paid to take part in the early stages of a trial for the drug to treat conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and leukaemia until they were taken ill on Monday within hours of taking it.

Eight volunteers were involved, but two were given a placebo at the unit which is on Northwick Park Hospital's grounds but is run independently.

Animal testing

Chief executive officer Professor Kent Woods said: "Our immediate priority has been to ensure that no further patients are harmed.

"We will now undertake an exhaustive investigation to determine the cause and ensure all appropriate actions are taken."

It had approved the trial and the drug had already been tested on animals and in a laboratory.

Volunteers are paid up to 150-pounds a day to take part in clinical trials.

Healthy volunteers are used to test the safety of the drug in "phase one" of the trial before further tests with people who have the condition to determine whether the drugs work.

Full story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/4807042.stm

 

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