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The Ministry of Defence has been accused in a parliamentary report of ignoring manufacturers' warnings in using anti-malaria drug Lariam.
The side effects of Lariam are said to be depression and suicidal thoughts.
The subsequent help given by the MoD to those suffering from the side-effects of Lariam was insufficient, the Commons Defence Committee has stated. They also said the system of duty-of-care needed to be overhauled.
The report by the Defence Select Committee was to call for Lariam to banned bar very restricted circumstances, The Independent revealed.
As a result, the MoD now faces legal action from hundreds of victims whose lives have been tarnished having been given Lariam.
While Dr Julian Lewis, the chairman of the Committee, made clear the risks in taking the drug had been highlighted by Roche, the makers of Lariam, he also stated "Such conditions have often been disregarded in dispensing it to large numbers of troops about to be deployed."
"It seems quite clear that not only is the MoD unable to follow the manufacturer's guidelines for prescribing the drug in all instances, but a number of troops discard their Lariam rather than risk its potentially dangerous side-effects."
He added: "It is our firm conclusion that there is neither the need, nor any justification for continuing to issue this medication to Service personnel unless they can be individually assessed in accordance with the manufacturers' requirements. And - most of the time - -that is simply impossible, when a sudden, mass deployment of hundreds of troops is necessary."
The report stated that Lariam should only be prescribed to those who cannot handle alternative medication, and after a face-to-face risk assessment has been carried out.
One of many senior officers that welcomed the report, General Lord Richards, said: "This is an issue of utmost seriousness and all the measures necessary should be taken as soon as possible. Concerns about Lariam has been long time, we know people who have been affected by it. So there should be no further delay."
Words by Josh Teal
Featured image: Getty
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