Health Minister urged to re-examine possible side effects of anti-malarial drug
Politicians of all stripes are asking the federal Health Minister to take another look at the potentially harmful effects of an anti-malarial drug that some veterans say permanently damaged their brains and contributed to the violence that erupted during the Somalia mission of the early 1990s.
At the same time, a proposed class-action lawsuit launched against the manufacturer of mefloquine and the Defence Department on behalf of veterans who say they still suffer repercussions from the pills they were forced to take on overseas deployments has been given new life as more former soldiers step forward to say they too were harmed.
The controversy around mefloquine, a drug marketed as Lariam that is still being offered to Canadian troops when they are sent to countries where malaria is prevalent, has been brewing since 1992 when a Somali teenager was beaten to death by Canadian soldiers. Veterans of the mission blame the drug for psychological damage that may have caused the aggressive behaviour.
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