Defence Committee Report Criticises MoD Use of Lariam Anti Malaria Drug

Specialist Lawyers Receive Over 80 Enquiries From Armed Forces Personnel Affected By Mental Health Issues

24.05.2016

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

Specialist Lawyers representing armed forces personnel suffering serious mental health side effects after taking the Lariam anti-malarial drug have welcomed a report by the Defence Committee criticising the MoD’s use of the drug.

The Commons Defence Committee said there was "strong anecdotal evidence" that stringent conditions laid down by the manufacturers for issuing Lariam had been ignored by the armed forces.

The new report called for the drug to be used only as a last resort. After a six-month inquiry, the defence select committee found the potential side-effects were clearly highlighted by manufacturers Roche, but there was "strong anecdotal evidence" that the stringent conditions laid down for prescription were often disregarded.

It is understood that at least 17,368 personnel were prescribed Lariam, also referred to as Mefloquine, at least once between the start of April 2007 and the end of March 2015, according to official MoD figures.

Irwin Mitchell has received over 80 enquiries from current members of the armed forces and veterans who say they have been affected by mental health problems since being prescribed Lariam.

Expert Opinion
“The announcement that Lariam is finally to be banned for military use apart from in exceptional circumstances is to be welcomed but this action comes too late for the many veterans who have already suffered from its serious side effects. We have heard first-hand how it has ruined lives.

“It is now imperative that the new guidelines for prescribing Lariam are implemented as soon as possible and that the MoD clarifies the support it will be offering to Armed Forces Personnel affected. It is vital that this includes the provision of adequate resources to ensure Lariam side effects are properly diagnosed and urgently treated. Only then will our service personnel receive the help they require.

“We are continuing to investigate the claims of a large number of veterans who have contacted us after taking Lariam in the past decade while serving in our armed forces and we have already notified the MoD of several claims as we seek to secure them the help and support they need to overcome their problems.

“The findings of the report by the Defence Select Committee will only strengthen the position of claimants and we are hopeful the MOD will now look to work collaboratively with us in resolving these cases and in showing that it is prepared to stand by and support current and former service personnel who have suffered as a result of Lariam.”
Kevin Timms, Solicitor

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's Lariam Claims