It would be NICE to control the marketing of risperidone

D B Double


Recent marketing information to doctors from Janssen-Cilag for risperidone (see scanned copy of the information) encourages the stereotype of the black schizophrenic haunting the community. Previous information also seemed to suggest that risperidone is good for controlling the dangerous, male schizophrenic, and that its use is supported by guidelines from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). (see scanned copy of the information). NICE was set up as a Special Health Authority of the National Health Service (NHS) in England and Wales and its role is to provide patients, health professionals and the public with authoritative, robust and reliable guidance on current "best practice". Quoting NICE therefore gives authoritative support to the claims for risperidone. Maybe NICE complained about the use of its name in this way, as the NICE reference does not feature in the most recent company advertising information.

It is true that the NICE guidelines1 recommend that the oral atypical antipsychotic drugs, which include risperidone, are considered in the choice of first-line treatments for individuals with newly diagnosed schizophrenia. The evidence comes from the NICE technology appraisal of the use of the newer (atypical) antipsychotic drugs for schizophrenia.

Nonetheless the blatant sterotyped advertising of Janssen-Cilag should be more widely known. Control of the pharmaceutical industry is necessary in the context of rising drug costs.2 NICE has been advised by an independent review to break its close links with the drug industry and to make its processes more transparent.3


  1. Schizophrenia: Core interventions in the treatment and management of schizophrenia in primary and secondary care. NICE guideline, 2002. [Full text]
  2. Richard Smith. A bad week for drug companies? BMJ 2003;327 (20 September) [Full text]
  3. Zosia Kmietowicz. NICE is told to break its close links with drug industry BMJ 2003;327:637 (20 September) [Full text]