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Australian Troops Claim They Were Used As Guinea Pigs

Oct 25, 2004 |

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) said yesterday only five soldiers had suffered adverse reactions in defence trials of a widely used anti-malarial drug, rejecting claims of widespread side-effects including psychosis.

The ADF was responding to a report that hundreds of Australian soldiers serving in East Timor were ordered to take the drug Lariam as part of tests to observe side-effects, which can also include depression and paranoia.

An ADF spokeswoman said Defence's preferred anti-malarial was the antibiotic Doxycycline.

But the few personnel unable to tolerate that drug could be given Lariam, which was also known as Mefloquine.

The Sunday Telegraph newspaper said a Brisbane law firm was set to launch a class action on behalf of hundreds of soldiers who said they were used as guinea pigs to test the effects of Mefloquine while serving in East Timor.

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