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Matthew Parris column in The Times - I know well the horrors that Lariam can unleash

Updated: Apr 30

Writing in The Times, political writer and broadcaster and former Conservative MP Matthew Parris has expressed the personal horrors he experienced after taking anti-malarial drug, Lariam.

Writing about the “horrors that Lariam can unleash” Mr Parris goes on to detail how he “saw strange hallucinations of grotesque faces — to this day they can swim into my brain, similar to images I saw after trying LSD at university — after which I collapsed physically in the port of Massawa, then recovered”.

On April 4, 1998, having seen claims of a link between Lariam and psychosis, Mr Parris wrote a two-page warning for The Times. As a result, “scores of readers responded reporting similar instances”.

Mr Parris rightly goes on to say that “country by country, the drug was withdrawn from prescription…but the Ministry of Defence continued to force soldiers in malarial regions to take Lariam weekly. There have been numerous cases of further, sometimes catastrophic, reactions. In total, 450 former service personnel are bringing a class action against the ministry, which has refused to settle, although the link has now been medically established”.

Referring to Hilary Meredith Solicitors’ action on behalf of former service personnel, Mr Parris concludes:

“At last the MoD is close to being forced to settle but the public-spirited solicitors who have been supporting claimants say their costs have brought them to the verge of bankruptcy. They say the ministry is foot-dragging, hoping the firm collapses before the MoD case does. This is a disgrace. In the dark tonight I’ll summon my hallucinogenic faces and wish the soldiers and their solicitors well”.


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