With the deployments to East Timor and Bougainville, over 3,000 Australian soldiers were subjected to these quinoline drugs, as part of a trial through the military. We’ve assessed through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs own statistics that about 1,000 of the people who were subjected to these drugs have been diagnosed with severe mental health disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder.Retired Australian Army Captain Andrew George, Sky News Australia, June 6, 2018
ANDREW George was one of the 1,540 Australian Defense Force (ADF) personnel given tafenoquine during the Army Malaria Institute’s notorious quinoline drug trials which involved more than 4,000 troops in Bougainville (Papua New Guinea), East Timor and Australia from 1999 to 2002. The ADF has since admitted that it did not subject tafenoquine to appropriate neurotoxicity testing on primates either before or after these clinical trials. In 2009, scientists from the U.S. Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, which developed both tafenoquine and mefloquine, conducted laboratory studies which found “tafenoquine is the only antimalarial more neurotoxic than mefloquine.”
Like many of the other tafenoquine trial subjects, Andrew was subsequently discharged from the ADF and continues to experience severe, chronic ill-health consistent with quinoline poisoning, against a wall of denials from senior ADF officials including the Surgeon-General, Air Vice Marshal Tracy Smart. Through all this, the ADF continued to feature Andrew in their Army Reserve – Challenge Yourself recruiting campaign on billboards, brochures and television.
Tafenoquine was granted regulatory approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration in 2018. The FDA approval entitled GlaxoSmithKline to a “priority review voucher” which can be sold on the open market for hundreds of millions of dollars, even if a single tablet of the drug is never sold.
“Andrew George, a former infantry soldier and public relations officer with the Army Reserve, was treated with tafenoquine in Sydney and claims it left him with damaging side effects.
“Mr George, who features in promotional material for the reserves, said he was given the drug after being diagnosed with malaria but does not recall giving informed consent after a detailed explanation of the drug.
“He is one of many veterans seeking answers about the drugs with many believing it complicated their diagnosis and management of post-traumatic stress-disorder.”
Source: Henry Belot, “Therapeutic Goods Administration warned military doctors before using experimental drug on soldierssoldies,” Sydney Morning Herald, April 29, 2016