January 18, 2019

Victory for troops who took controversial anti-malaria pill

SOLDIERS given a controversial drug without an adequate risk assessment have received an apology from the Ministry of Defence.

In a victory for campaigners, Defence Minister Mark Lancaster admitted some soldiers may have been given Lariam, the anti-malaria drug, not in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines.

The Sunday Express has been pushing for the MoD to abandon use of the drug for troops susceptible to severe depression and other forms of mental illness.

Addressing the defence Select Committee last week, Mr Lancaster said: “Anecdotal evidence suggests a limited number of service personnel believe their individual risk assessments did not take place.

“Should that be the case, I would like to apologise to any former or current service personnel affected.”

Last night victims and their families said the admission represented a “significant breakthrough”.

Hundreds of soldiers and veterans reporting life-changing mental and physical illness after using Lariam are planning legal action.

In August 2014 the Sunday Express reported how Lt Col Andrew Marriott’s life had been plagued with a “nightmare disorder” since being given the drug in Sierra Leone in 2002.

The 60 year old said: “This is a significant admission.

“The MoD has never formally acknowledged the possibility before.”

However he said the MoD may be attempting to “scapegoat” individual medical officers and not accepting liability itself for a systematic failure over how the drug was issued.

“It seems the MoD is suggesting there was a large group of independently acting rogue medical officers just handing this stuff out,” he said.

“The only solution is to abandon the use of Lariam altogether.”

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