Inquiry into drug after soldiers’ health is hit

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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.’