Nightmares, delusional paranoia, aggression and thoughts of self-harm. These are some of the severe neurological symptoms experienced by a retired medical assistant in the Canadian Armed Forces after being “ordered” to take an anti-malaria drug while he was stationed in Somalia.

Hervey Blois to the House of Commons standing committee on veterans affairs on Thursday that he was part of a 900-strong Canadian Airborne regiment battle group in Somalia in 1993 when he first started taking the drug mefloquine under orders. The committee heard from other veterans how their lives were altered and in some cases destroyed by the drug which was administered to them as part of a clinical trial.

“This was months prior to the drug’s formal approval as a licensed medication by Health Canada,” he said in a statement. “…I was never told what these known adverse effects were, nor was I ever told to discontinue the drug if any of these adverse effects develop.”