Eight former Canadian soldiers were suing the government of Canada, claiming they were poisoned by a military-issued anti-malarial drug while on missions in Somalia, Rwanda and Afghanistan. Seeking more than $ 10 million each, the veterans say their lives have been destroyed by the drug Mefloquine.
Lawyer Paul Miller is representing the former soldiers and says his clients are forced to take drugs and living side effects, including psychosis, rage, paranoia, insomnia and tinnitus.
“The soldiers had no choice in taking the medication. They were under fear of court martial and imprisonment if they didn't take it. There was no fraudulent concealment of the side effects and they were never told that if you suffer from certain side effects, "Miller said.
The mass tort, similar to a class action lawsuit, will be filed on Wednesday, but the CTV News has been given an advance.
Among the eight soldiers represented in this first wave of lawsuits is Brad Elms, a former captain who has ordered to take Mefloquine on missions to Somalia, Haiti and Afghanistan. The suit, on behalf of his summer and his widow, claims: "Capt. Elms died by suicide on November 3, 2014, as a result of serious neurological and psychiatric side effects caused by Mefloquine. "
At a recent town hall meeting in Kingston, Ont., What was ordered to take Mefloquine in Afghanistan in 2005. Schumann says he experienced horrifyingly vivid dreams, including one of suicide that almost cost him his life.
"I attempted suicide in my dream. I remember taking my side arm, cocking the action, chambered round and putting the barrel in my mouth. ”Schumann says he pulled the trigger in a dream that he was unknowingly acting out in real life. “My fire team partner was beside me in the bed space, and he heard me cock the action of my C-7. Here I was standing with a chambered round on my edge getting ready to spin my rifle around. "
Schumann says his life has been destroyed by Mefloquine. He can´t sleep, he has seizures, tingling in the limbs and night terrors.
Some experts believe that some people who took the drug may be misdiagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The drug company own warning label cautions about the potential for serious side effects that can last for years. However, a 2017 Health Canada report found "limited evidence" that the drug causes "long lasting and permeant adverse events."
The statement of claims alleges that the government "continues to properly deny and conceal the risks" of the drug. These claims have not been tested in court.
Mefloquine is used by the Canadian first line of defense against malaria but the drug is still authorized for sale in Canada.