The Psychopharmacology Committee

Two years have passed since I last considered the Psychopharmacology Committee of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

This committee has increased its membership from 10 to 14.

Here is a summary of some important aspects:

  • All 14 members have declared competing interests. However not all have done so using the standardised Royal College of Psychiatrists “Declaration of Interests form”.
  • 3 members of this committee, one of whom is the current chair, have provided un-dated and un-signed declarations.
  • 3 of the dated and signed declarations are older than 3 years.

At least 30 different commercial enterprises [mostly pharmaceutical companies] have contributed to the competing interests [mostly financial] declared by members of this influential Committee. Some of these payments will  be for educating UK psychiatrists. Research however has repeatedly shown that, when marketing is conflated with education, scientific objectivity is lost. The lucrative RCPsych International Congress 2021 was held earlier this summer. However it wasn’t until after the Congress had finished, and prescribers educated, that  declarations of competing interest were made openly available [and this only following several reminders to the College].

The public and professionals alike cannot establish how much the pharmaceutical industry pays each year to UK professionals to promote and market their products, and indeed, how much of this goes to members of the RCPsych Psychopharmacology Committee.

The last three chairs of the RCPsych Psychopharmacology Committee [this includes the current chair] have at some point in their career declared the following competing interests:

One of the chairs of the RCPsych Psychopharmacology Committee [2017-2020] played a “leading role in the Defeat Depression Campaign“.

The previous Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Royal College of Psychiatrists stated that the College was “puritanical” in its relationship with the pharmaceutical industry:

The current CEO of the Royal College of Psychiatrists has stated that governance of competing financial interests of its members is “sufficiently robust”.

The current Treasurer of the Royal College of Psychiatrists has stated: “In relation to the ‘sunshine’ campaign, I do not believe that Professional Royal Colleges should express a view on the topic.”

The BMJ [Saturday, 29 May 2021] :

This was the BMJ Editorial:

I have asked the Royal College of Psychiatrists  whether it supports the introduction of  Sunshine Legislation . There has been no reply from the College.


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