The RCPsych Psychopharmacology Committee – influence of industry

Over the last decade I have looked at the governance of the Psychopharmacology Committee of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. My hope was to find improvement in relation to transparency. Unfortunately this hope has long since faded.

An update on this committee from 2019.

An update on this committee from 2021.

This  current post provides a 2023 update on this influential committee whose primary role is to educate on the prescribing of psychiatric drugs.

Since 2021 the Psychopharmacology Committee of the Royal College of Psychiatrists has increased its membership from 14 to 16.

Here is a summary of some important aspects:

  • 2 members have not declared competing interests.
  • 5 of those who have declared have not done so using the standardised Royal College of Psychiatrists “Declaration of Interests form”.
  • 7  members of this committee, including the current chair and vice-chair, have provided un-dated and un-signed declarations.
  • At least 4 of the dated and signed declarations are older than 3 years [below the professional standard generally accepted]. One declaration is 7 years old.

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 all worked, career-long, as paid opinion leaders for the pharmaceutical industry.

The current chair of the Committee works part-time for Lundbeck and has given these declarations to the British Association for Psychopharmacology [spellings as given]:

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”.

I have asked the Royal College of Psychiatrists  whether it supports the introduction of  Sunshine Legislation . The College has gone no further than to say “This is a matter for the Government to decide”.  It is interesting to reflect on this position given the recommendations of Baroness Cumberlege in her report First Do No Harm and the following calls from the General Medical Council [GMC] and the British Medical Journal [BMJ]:

The BMJ [Saturday, 29 May 2021] :This was the BMJ Editorial: