Mefloquine lawsuits against federal government filed in court for military use of drug

The first individual claims will be filed in court in the next week by Canadian Armed Forces veterans who took the antimalarial drug mefloquine. Rebekah Lesko reports.

The federal government is now facing three lawsuits from eight people over the military’s use of mefloquine.

The controversial anti-malarial drug was used by the Canadian Forces for its members deploying to regions where malaria posed a health risk.

READ MORE: Mefloquine lawsuits set to be filed by veterans in the next week

But the medication has been shown to carry serious side effects which the claimants argue the military failed to make clear to them.

“Three separate lawsuits have been filed in the Federal Court by a total of 8 individuals against the Government of Canada alleging that the Government, through the Department of National Defence, ordered members of the Canadian Armed Forces to take an anti-malarial medication known as ‘Mefloquine’ without adequately informing CAF Members of the severe adverse reactions, despite warnings from the drug manufacturer,” reads a statement issued by Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP and Waddell Phillips Professional Corporation.

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WATCH BELOW: Saskatchewan veteran speaks out about experience with mefloquine

Saskatchewan veteran speaks out about experience with mefloquine
Saskatchewan veteran speaks out about experience with mefloquine

The two law firms are representing the plaintiffs in the three lawsuits, which focus on the experiences of Canadian Forces members who say they were forced to take mefloquine between 1990 and 2017, and suffered harm as a result.

Side effects of mefloquine include anxiety, paranoia, depressions, hallucinations and nervous system problems such as vertigo, tinnitus, seizures and insomnia.

The Canadian Forces offered it as a first option for certain deployments but stopped doing so in 2017 after analyzing available studies on the use of the drug.

While the results of the review said there was no evidence of long-term damage from the drug, veterans quickly accused the government of cherry-picking the studies used in its review.

Mefloquine is now considered a drug of last resort by the Canadian military.

More to come … 

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