“The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.”
Mefloquine is an antimalarial drug that has been widely used by military forces around the world since the late 1980s and remains in use to this day. The drug has been found to be neurotoxic, able to cause a variety neurological and psychiatric disorders. Many military personnel and veterans now experience chronic, debilitating health problems as a result of lasting or permanent brain injury caused by mefloquine.
Dr Remington Nevin, Presentation to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Mefloquine Neurotoxicity, 11 January 2013
Despite mefloquine having been found conclusively to be neurotoxic a decade ago, institutional denials by military officials, veterans’ affairs agencies, the ethically compromised medical establishment, the pharmaceutical industry and their lobbyists, have resulted in a situation whereby there is no support for veterans and their families experiencing the debilitating, chronic health effects of mefloquine toxicity. Until recently, these men and women who have sacrificed so much for their countries have suffered in silence. In addition to the usual stigma surrounding mental health many mefloquine veterans have for years, and in some cases decades, endured chronic symptoms of brain injury without acknowledgement or proper care, the result of systematic medical negligence. Misdiagnosis with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, personality disorders and other illnesses has been common, leading to inappropriate and sometimes dangerous medical treatments. Many have suicided, while those who have shown the courage to speak out have met a wall of denials, threats and abuse. Evidence has now emerged of decades-old corruption and cover-ups involving senior officials in several countries.
As serving military personnel and ex-serving veterans, we are meeting the obligation placed upon us by Lieutenant General Morrison and other military leaders. We do not accept the unjust, unethical and/or unlawful treatment of our fellow veterans. We do not accept negligence, lack of acknowledgement or the failure to properly care for mefloquine veterans and their families. We do not accept the abuse of those who were injured in the service of their countries. We do not accept the rampant corruption of public institutions by Roche, GlaxoSmithKline and the pharmaceutical industry in general, or the culture of impunity among military leaders that has led to this state of affairs. We will continue to show the moral courage called for by Morrison and others. And we will prevail. Please connect with us or join us.
We are inspired by the courage and leadership of Major General Alastair Duncan. See his story here.