Random Analytica

Random thoughts, charts, infographics & analysis. Not in that order

Tag: New Zealand

Random Analytica: Mefloquine – Colonels & Generals

Mefloquine wasn’t just given to Diggers [Australian slang for Other Ranks]. Colonels and Generals got it too. They get sick and they die. They don’t believe the diagnostic overshadowing of PTSD makes any sense either. Some are even voicing their concerns.

Here is a list of Colonels and Generals who either received Mefloquine on Operations OR (more telling) refused to take it. Correct as at 20th October 2019. I’ll update accordingly.

 

Confirmed Mefloquine Exposure and Symptomology

18th October 2019 (Canada): Lieutenant-General Roméo Antonius Dallaire. UNAMIR (Rwanda 1993/94). Via W5. Romeo Dallaire joining lawsuit against government over anti-malaria drug. Excerpt:

In a W5 exclusive, Dallaire announced that he is joining a lawsuit against the Canadian government and Defence Department over an anti-malaria drug that he, and other soldiers , were forced to take on missions to Rwanda, Somalia and Afghanistan.

Dallaire, who led the international peacekeeping mission in Rwanda in 1994, has become the highest ranking soldier to join an unprecedented legal action by veterans over the use of the anti-malaria drug Mefloquine. He joins nearly 900 other veterans who claim the Canadian government and Department of National Defence “willfully ignored and concealed the risks” of the drug, which is marketed under the brand name Lariam.

Dallaire has been hailed a hero, both for his attempts to stop the genocide in Rwanda, but also for his outspoken admission that he struggles with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

30th January 2019: Colonel Timothy Dunn (USA). Deployed (Sep – Dec 2006). Via the Military Times. ‘I plead with you to look at this very closely,’ retiree tells panel studying health effects of anti-malarial drugs. Excerpt:

Timothy Dunn, a retired Marine Corps colonel, was among those who told the committee they’d be willing to provide information.

” I open my self, my heart and soul and medical records to you,” Dunn said. “You have to do something to look at this closely and make a fair and just determination … there are many more than I who have had this problem.”

Dunn said he still suffers from insomnia, anxiety, depression, ringing in the ears, and dizziness.

22nd May 2016 (UK): General David Julian Richards. Operation Pallisar (2000). Via the Independent. British armed forces set to ban most prescriptions of controversial anti-malarial drug Lariam. Excerpt:

Lady Caroline Richards, the General’s wife, had also taken a keen interest in matter for a long time. She added “Wives and partners of people who had been affected by the use of Lariam approached me and described what had happened. There were some terrible, sad stories of trauma, of relationships ending, psychological problems. We heard about other forces which have stopped using Lariam, so this is obviously something which needed looking into.”

23rd November 2015 (UK): Major-General Alistair Duncan. Sierra Leone (1999). Via the Daily Mail. Has this highly decorated hero been driven mentally ill by an anti-malaria drug tourists are still given? Excerpt:

Today, however, he is locked up in a secure psychiatric unit near his home in Somerset. Tragically diminished, he has been incarcerated for ten months. He has lost the capacity to read and write; outbursts of aggression are punctuated by periods of torpor. He can be sweet-tempered and affectionate; remote and belligerent by turns. His wife, and a growing body of expert medical opinion, believe his psychiatric disorder has been caused, in part, by the controversial anti-malarial drug mefloquine, or Lariam, which he was given for six months in 1999 before being deployed to West Africa.

The Abstainers

31st August 2016 (UK): General Francis Richard Dannatt. Refused Mefloquine. Via The Guardian. Ex-army chief apologises to troops over anti-malaria drug. Excerpt:

Lord Dannatt, who was chief of the general staff between 2006 and 2009, told BBC2’s Victoria Derbyshire programme he would not take the drug because of his son’s experience with it.

Dannatt said his son Bertie had suffered mental health problems after taking two doses of Lariam before visiting Africa in the late 1990s. He was not in the armed forces at the time but had been prescribed the drug by his father’s army doctor.

 

If you or someone you know needs help, please phone Lifeline on 131 114, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or Open Arms on 1800 011 046.

QuikStats: Invocare & Australian Deaths 1989 – 2011

It’s a ‘Mr. Death’ or something. He’s come about the reaping? I don’t think we need any at the moment. (Monty Python, 1983)

Last Sunday Michael Rowland hosting Inside Business made light of the funeral industry. Recent comments by Andrew Smith, CEO of Invocare, Australia’s largest operator of funeral services provided the opening when during an investor presentation he pointed to lower than projected H1 mortality rates had created a “headwind” for the company.

Andrew Smith went on to state “In terms of an operating result this has been a challenging first half with the number of deaths and market share falling below expectations in Australia and NZ,”.

These comments were reflected in the Investor Presentation which noted that:

  • Comparable funeral case volume growth of 1.3% at April YTD dropped to decline of 0.7% by end of half (June).

An unseasonably warm winter in Australian seems to have caused a slow down in deaths across the country this year. It must be a significant drop to impact the forecast revenues of Invocare who seemed to be tracking well to the start of autumn.

Here’s a look at Australian Deaths (Male/Female) from 1989 through to 2011.

1 - AustralianDeaths_1989~2011_130830

The really surprising finding from this QuikStat was that I could not readily access temporal pattern data (that is deaths by month). I would think that this type of data would be becoming more useful due to the possible impacts on mortality from climate change. Of course, that’s not to say that there isn’t any done but it would certainly require more digging.

As for Invocare, they believe that the FY 2013-2014 offers further challenges with a summary point noting that the number of deaths will be below expectations in Australia and New Zealand!

Let’s just hope that Andrew Smith doesn’t end up knocking on your door to discuss the ‘reaping’ anytime soon.

Update (31/08/2013)

  • Michael Rowland responded to the article with the following tweet. As it turns out he is not just scripted funny (but the real deal). My thanks!

2 - mjrowland68