10 Medical Trials that Went Terribly Wrong

by Rajarshi Saha1 year ago0 comments

6 Dan Markingson, a schizophrenia patient admitted to the University of Minnesota Medical Center, committed suicide on May 8, 2004, after his delusions became worse because of the medical trial of the drug Seroquel.

Dan Markingson
Image Credit : Unsplash.com , Mary Weiss / twincities.com

When Dan Markingson was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2003, he was admitted to the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Fairview. Soon, the medical team put him on a medical trial of three different types of schizophrenia drugs: Seroquel, Risperdal, and Zyprexa.

His delusions became worse as they started administering him with daily 800 mg doses of Seroquel. In the meantime, his mother was trying to get him out of the place by sending letters, emails, and every other way possible, but the administration had evil plans.

They banned Dan from leaving the study by threatening to put him into a mental facility if he tried to leave the trial. His endurance reached the tipping point when his delusions became worse. Eventually, he took his life by stabbing himself to death in the shower on May 8, 2004.

The suicide note he left states, “I went through this experience smiling!” His mother sued the medical center which refused to take responsibility for her son’s death. (source)


7 One woman lost her vision and two others partially lost their eyesight after taking part in a medical trial to treat their old-age eye issue of macular degeneration after paying $5,000 to a research team in the US.

Women Left Blind
Three women were left blind after a failed medical trial

Three women suffering from an old-age eye issue, macular degeneration, enrolled in a stem cell therapy trial procedure in 2017. Each of them, with ages ranging from 72 to 88 years, paid $5,000 to treat their eyes.

But according to several ophthalmologists,  the process was not secure enough.  After a few days, all the women complained about severe adverse reactions, like bleeding and retinal detachment according to a report in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Unfortunately, one of them lost her eyesight, and the other two lost theirs partially. The tragic thing was, none of the patients will fully get their vision back. But what went wrong in this case?

First of all, the researcher involved in the procedure tried to erase the online data available on the trial. The second illegal thing in this matter was research funded by patients is a grave violation of the principles of scientific research. (source)


8 A healthy man in his late 20s was declared brain dead two weeks after participating in a medical trial for an anxiety-reducing drug sponsored by the company Biotrial.

(Left) Image for representational purpose only. Image Credit : AFP /Youtube.com , Unsplash.com

A France-based company, Biotrial, recruited 128 healthy volunteers to take part in a medical trial of a new drug produced to minimize anxiety issues related to cancer and Parkinson’s disease. Initially, smaller doses of the drug didn’t cause any trouble for the patients.

But after the first week when the medical team increased the dosage, the participants started to experience some side effects. Six of the participants became so ill that they were rushed to the ER. A healthy man among the volunteers, in his late 20s, was declared brain dead, after a week of struggling with complications.

Although five others remained in a stable condition, doctors were not very hopeful about their recovery. They predicted that most patients will face irreversible brain damage. An investigation by a news agency uncovered some shocking revelations in this case.

Scientists involved in the trial had been aware of the serious effects of the drug since the beginning. A French news portal shed some light on the pre-trial adverse effects on dogs, which killed several and left others with brain injuries. Despite the problems associated with the study, they continued the trial on humans. (source)


9 Three adult leukemia patients could not survive the drug trial of medicine CAR-T in 2016. The highly anticipated drug for cancer therapy caused cerebral edema in their brain which led to their death.

Juno Therapeutics
Image Credit: Kurt Schlosser / Geekwire.com

Three adult leukemia patients participated in a trial of a new cellular-level drug by Juno Therapeutics with the hope of a cure. The drug named CAR-T was supposed to be a breakthrough in cancer research but the high hopes of the medical team didn’t last long.

In July 2016, all three patients lost their lives after the trial because of the development of cerebral edema in their brains caused by the drug. Juno admitted that cerebral edema is a common symptom among patients who were administered with CAR-T mediation. The stock of the company went downhill once the news came and the FDA was investigating the case. (source)

10Joyce Shoffner, a breast cancer patient. was left with blood clots, diabetes, and post-traumatic stress disorder due to a chemotherapy trial which was based on false research by a Duke University researcher, Anil Potti.

A Duke University researcher, Anil Potti, was on the verge of a breakthrough in cancer treatment throughout the 2000s. He claimed that his research had an 80% cure rate, which had the potential to save 10,000 lives a year. But all these were based on false and illegal research practices by Mr.  Potti.


Joyce Shoffner, a woman suffering from breast cancer, participated in the medical trial to cure her tumor in July 2008. She became the No.1 patient to volunteer for the “so-called promising therapy”. After her painful biopsy session, she underwent a course of  Adriamycin-Cytoxan (AC) chemotherapy.

Two years later, she was informed that the study’s results had been voided because Mr. Potti falsified the data during his research and published the wrong results. Joyce does not have breast cancer today, but the therapy had left her with blood clots, diabetes, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

There were many others who were victims of this illegitimate medical trial. Dozens of people filed lawsuits against Duke University’s administration and research team alleging them of negligent behavior concerning cancer patients by organizing an illegal medical trial. (source)

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