Mefloquine human drug trials: CNN Transcript


WINKENWARDE: It’s our policy that they receive the information. That’s my policy. That’s the Department of Defense policy. So that’s our policy and we intend it to be practiced in every single situation.MANN: Is it happening? Because our research suggests it’s not happening. It suggests that a lot of soldiers are giventhis drug and have no idea that it’s going to have any side effects whatsoever.WINKENWARDE: Well, if that’s true, that’s not our policy, and that’s not what we would want to happen. As I had just indicated, we are redoubling our efforts to make sure that what in fact is our policy is what in fact isbeing done. I have — any anecdote or report or concern otherwise is always something that we want to know about.MANN: But would it be news to you? Forgive me. I say this with respect. You’re the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, and what we’re hearing from everyone we’ve talked to is that soldiers have no idea what this drug

might be doing to them. And you’re telling me that no one has ever mentioned that to you, that the soldiers are notgetting the information?WINKENWARDE: What you’re telling me is something you’ve heard. It’s a report from you. Perceptions andanecdote. I don’t have any survey information. I don’t have any hard information. I have not been presented with any information.If you’d like to secure that information for me and bring it to my attention, I’d be glad to look at it.MANN: Talking to you, I feel like I’m being unfair, and I’ll tell you why. I’m asking you all of these questions aboutwhat it is the military is doing out in the field, and you seem to be answering me honestly and earnestly that thepolicy is of a particular kind. But what’s happening out in the field is beyond you. It sounds like you don’t know how this drug is being used and that when these concerns are being raised your best and most helpful answer is, “I needto have information.”Why don’t you already have this information?WINKENWARDE: We do have the information. We don’t have information that suggests what you’re saying. Wehave some information that would not suggest what you’re saying.MANN: Without reference to the policy, be very clear on that, are you telling me, for example, that military personnel who get this drug get information packets and medication guides with it? You’re telling me that their medical records are complete when they’re getting these drugs that they’re being screened for these drugs when they enter the military, to make sure that those drugs are appropriate to them and they’re being screened for these drugs whenthey leave the military, to make sure they haven’t got adverse effects? Is that your factual understanding of what’shappening?WINKENWARDE: That’s our policy. That’s our approach.MANN: Once again, forgive me for interrupting. I know what the policy is and you’re being very clear about that.What I’m asking you is, do you know what is actually happening to the men and women who get this drug?WINKENWARDE: Yes, we do.MANN: And you are convinced the drug is going out only to the right people, they are being properly informed, aswell informed as civilians are, and they’re being screened for taking the drug to make sure they don’t have prehistories, and to make sure when they leave the military they don’t have problems and that it’s being noted in their records?WINKENWARDE: You’re asking — what I hear you asking is, how precisely are you executing against your policystandard, and what I can tell you based on the information that I have is that we’re executing effectively against that policy standard.Is it absolutely at 100 percent? Based on what you’ve told me, I would say it’s not. But that’s not our goal. That’s notour policy. That’s not our desired approach. And so we absolutely want to and intend in every way to use this medication appropriately, to give it out to where it’s needed, to not prescribe it where it’s not needed and to use it to save people’s lives, to protect them from a lethal disease.I want to make sure that we come back to that because, again, there are risks and benefits in anything that we do in medicine and healthcare, and so when we’re dealing with a very real probability of individual — not just an individual,but many individuals, contracting malaria, we have to take steps to protect them and use the best available medications and approaches that we have.(END VIDEOTAPE)MANN: We take a break now. When we come back, a public health expert with a different view of the drug.Stay with us.(COMMERCIAL BREAK)MANN: Canadian troops also took Lariam in Afghanistan and before that deployed as peacekeepers in Rwanda and Somalia. Somalia was a turning point for the Canadian forces when one of its crack units became mired in thescandal over the…..



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