One person has been left brain-dead and three others face possibly-irreversible brain damage after taking part in a drugs trial in France, Health Minister Marisol Touraine and a neurologist said Friday.

Six volunteers were taken to hospital last week after taking part in the Phase I trial of a new medication meant to treat mood disorders such as anxiety, developed by Portuguese pharmaceutical company Bial.

Touraine said the men, aged between 28 and 49, were part of a group of 90 people who had taken the drug, while about 30 others had received a placebo.

The volunteers were given varying doses and the six men were in the group who were taking the drug “regularly”.

Pierre-Gilles Edan, head of the neurology department at the hospital in Rennes where the volunteers were taken, said that aside from the man who was clinically dead, three others were suffering a “handicap that could be irreversible” and another also had neurological problems.

The sixth volunteer had no symptoms but was being monitored.

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