Former soldier settles case over health problems allegedly caused by anti-malaria drug

Patrick Fedigan. Photo: Collins.

A former soldier has settled his damages action against the State over health problems he claimed he suffered as a result of being prescribed the anti-malaria drug Larium.

Patrick Fedigan brought proceedings over what he claimed were the effects of taking the drug while he served with the Defence Forces during UN peacekeeping deployments to Africa that occurred between 2001 and 2009.

The claims were denied.

Today, John Gordan SC, for Mr Fedigan told Mr Justice Bernard Barton that following out of court talks between the parties the action had been resolved.

Counsel said that the case could be struck out. No further details of the settlement, which are understood to be confidential, were given to the court.

The State defendants had denied negligence or that they were liable for any injuries suffered by Mr Fedigan.

The defendants had also argued that Mr Fedigan had delayed in bringing his claim, meaning that his action was statute barred.

Mr Justice Barton welcomed the settlement.

The action is one of several similar actions brought against the State by members of the Defence Forces who claim they suffered various illnesses as a result of being prescribed the drug.

In his action, Mr Fedigan from Lobinstown, Navan, Co Meath, claimed he was prescribed Mefloquine Hydrochloride (Larium) when he served in Eritrea in 2001, Liberia in 2002 and Chad in 2010.

The 51-year-old claimed that as a result of his exposure to Larium he has suffered from various conditions including loss of balance, anxiety, panic, insomnia, vertigo, and memory problems.

He claimed the Minister for Defence, Ireland and the Attorney General were negligent and in breach of their duty towards him on grounds including he was not a suitable person to be prescribed Larium.

His prior medical history had not been ascertained before he was prescribed Larium and the defendants did not provide him with adequate support, treatment or management when he made complaints of symptoms of being prescribed the anti-malaria drug he claims.

He further claimed the defendants failed to provide him with a safe system of work, and exposed him to risk of injury which they ought to have known.

Mr Fedigan retired from the Defence Forces in 2013.

The case, had it proceeded, was expected to last 10 weeks.

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