MoD Faces Legal Action From British Troops Suffering Mental Health Problems After Taking Lariam Anti-Malaria Drug

Expert Military Lawyers Investigating Anti-Malaria Drug On Behalf Of Armed Forces Personnel With Mental Health Concerns

12.05.2016

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

A group of armed forces personnel who suffered serious mental health side effects after taking the controversial anti-malaria drug Lariam which was prescribed to British troops operating overseas are taking legal action against the MoD as they seek answers over the use of the drug.

Expert military injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have received more than 30 enquiries from people claiming to be affected by issues related to Lariam, also known as mefloquine, and the legal team has formally notified the MoD of several claims from armed forces personnel who have suffered a range of psychological side-effects, including hallucinations, severe depression, sleep deprivation and anxiety.

The group legal action comes after the MoD admitted that Lariam may have been used “outside of manufacturers’ guidelines” following a Defence Select Committee inquiry last year. Despite concerns regarding mental health side effects being known and other anti-malaria drugs being available, the medication continued to be prescribed to British troops.

Irwin Mitchell, which has a dedicated team of armed forces legal experts, many of whom have served in the military themselves, is now representing a number of former service personnel who were prescribed the drug and have suffered from a range of mental health issues.

A recent report by The Poppy Factory, a charity which supports wounded, injured or sick ex-service personnel, also found that mental illness among veterans was described almost exclusively in terms of PTSD rather than considering other potential causes.

Expert Opinion
“The serious side effects of the use of Lariam have been well known for a number of years, so it is very concerning that the drug was still the first-choice anti-malaria drug for our troops until very recently.

“Through our work we have seen first-hand the devastating effects that Lariam has had on the lives of service personnel and their families. We are now investigating the legal case on their behalf and in some cases have already formally notified the MoD of the intention to bring legal action.

“These brave men and women risked their lives to serve our country and we need to ensure that we are doing everything within our power to make sure their health and well-being is a top priority for the MoD.

“By accepting that they have used the drug outside of the manufacturer’s guidelines, the MOD has taken the first step to redressing military personnel concerns. We hope this is also the first step to the MoD working with us in a collaborative manner to resolve the complaints of the troops for whom we act.”
Kevin Timms, Solicitor

Read about armed forces personnel affected by Lariam.

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's Lariam Claims.