Inquiry into drug after soldiers’ health is hit

Les Wills on the new Jetty with Capt Iain Greenlees, left, and WO Dave Pottle

Portsmouth Naval Base’s revamp stun veteran sailor Les, 90

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A NEW inquiry has been launched into the safety of an anti-malarial drug given to hundreds of military personnel.

The government’s defence committee has asked for a review of the drug Lariam.

It comes after an investigation by The Independent newspaper which revealed almost 1,000 British servicemen and women required psychiatric treatment after taking a discredited drug.

Psychosis, suicidal thoughts, depression and hallucinations are among the mental-health problems associated with Lariam, also known as mefloquine.

In a letter to defence secretary Michael Fallon, the committee said: ‘The number of cases of military personnel reporting serious side-effects after taking Lariam is deeply disturbing and, as a consequence, the defence committee is minded to conduct an investigation into its use.’

Shaun Rusling was a medic based in Hampshire prior to deploying to Saudi Arabia for the first Gulf War. The 56-year-old said his health declined after being ordered to take a concoction of drugs, which included Lariam.

He said: ‘It’s shameful that we have been left in this state I am just one of 9,000 soldiers that have been chucked on the scrapheap.’

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