Irish Minister for Defence Simon Coveney has announced in Parliament that Roche Ireland is to withdraw mefloquine from the domestic market in 2016. Members of the Irish Defence Force, friends and families have fought a long campaign for the Defence Force to cease using mefloquine, which continues to be used as it’s first line antimalarial despite overwhelming evidence of its neurotoxicity, the health impacts among Irish troops, and the availability of effective alternative drugs.
Clare Daly questions Simon Coveney in Irish Parliament, 8 October 2015
As many as 30 Irish veterans are currently engaged in legal action against the Irish Government for personal injury linked to mefloquine, with 18 of those cases having reached the High Court. The Government has been accused of a cover up for refusing to release commissioned reports on the health impacts of mefloquine on Irish troops. Previously the Defence Force has been advised by Patricia Schlagenhauf, who has received funding from Roche as a long standing proponent of mefloquine.
In another legal case, civilian Andrew Bryce sued Roche, a medical doctor and the Tropical Medical Bureau for failing to properly warn him of mefloquine’s side effects before he took the drug in 1996. This case was settled in the High Court in October 2015 for an undisclosed amount offered by the defendants.
Irish mefloquine veterans and their families are petitioning the Irish Government to cease administering this drug to military personnel and provide proper care for those suffering from the health effects. Please sign or share the petition here.