“Risky Nerve-Gas Drug”
To the Editor of the New York Times:
Re: “Drug Tested in Gulf War Is Approved for Troops” (news article, Feb. 6), about the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of pyridostigmine bromide (PB), a drug to help protect troops against a nerve gas that might be used in any war with Iraq: Scientific research should rule out the drug as a cause of Gulf War veterans’ illnesses before it is given to today’s troops.
Pyridostigmine bromide was once an “investigational” drug. In other words, the government was uncertain during the Persian Gulf War whether it would harm the troops that it was intended to protect.
More than 200,000 troops who went to the gulf healthy have sought health care and disability compensation for a variety of illnesses; scientific studies are still inconclusive about the effects of pyridostigmine bromide on healthy humans.
The government must protect our troops from lethal exposures before our commander in chief sends them into battle, including replacing faulty protective gear. But let’s not roll the pyridostigmine bromide dice on the men and women who fight our wars.
Ronald F. Conley
The American Legion