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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Royal College of Psychiatry: "Unprofessional Conduct"





The Royal College of Psychiatry (RCP) continues traveling down its road of willful ignorance regarding a formal complaint submitted to them by more than 30 mental health experts last February.

Digging through the timeline of events, you'll find that RCP orchestrated a media frenzy surrounding a study of drugs marketed as "antidepressants."  The analysis by Andrea Cipriani et al that was unveiled in February again over-hyped the supposed benefits of  "antidepressants." Two members of the RCP, Wendy Burn and David Baldwin, went further by claiming, "We know that in the vast majority of patients, any unpleasant symptoms experienced on discontinuing antidepressants have resolved within two weeks of stopping treatment."

If this was a throw-away comment on Twitter one could be more forgiving, however, Burn and Baldwin's comment was published in the Guardian newspaper. RCPs claim was met by health professionals and patient safety advocates who adeptly pointed out that RCPs down-playing the horrific withdrawal effects of antidepressants contradicted RCPs own previously published content, "Coming Off Antidepressants." 

RCP previously noted that a staggering 63% of respondents in its own survey reported difficulties withdrawing from SSRI drugs ("antidepressants.")

When the RCP-published study was brought to the attention of Wendy Burn via Twitter, it was swiftly removed. RCP later claimed it was "out of date" and needed "updating."

Understandably outraged at RCP's seemingly intentional public health misinformation, many mental health experts submitted a formal complaint to RCP demanding that Burn and Baldwin be asked to provide evidence that backed up their claims that, "in the vast majority of patients, any unpleasant symptoms experienced on discontinuing antidepressants have resolved within two weeks of stopping treatment."

The formal Complaint was dismissed by RCP without a full investigation and without a right of appeal.

Undeterred, the 30 mental health experts continue to push for evidence from Burn and Baldwin, and indeed the RCP. However, RCP refuses to provide any such evidence. RCP will not retract its claim provided to the Guardian newspaper and refuses to publicly apologize for its disinformation and/or "error."

Two days ago, the 30 mental health experts wrote to The Rt. Hon. Matt Hancock MP, the newly appointed Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, to inform him that “the Royal College of Psychiatrists is currently operating outside the ethical, professional and scientific standards expected of a body representing medical professionals.”

The full letter, along with a timeline of events can be read here.

The recent arrogance shown by RCP, Burn, and Baldwin is typical of a system that protects prescribers and further harms those who have suffered at the hands of prescribers. Burn, who is the current President of the RCP, should know that any comment she makes in the media represents the views of the college, which is probably why her colleagues are not asking Burn to back up her claims.

RCP knows it takes longer than two weeks to withdraw from antidepressants, they know this from their own study carried out several years ago. When the statistics from their own study didn't tally with their president's comments, RCP pulled the study from its own website within 24 hours and then concocted a story that it was 'out-of-date.' No effort has been made to reinstate the original study with amendments.

The stance of RCP highlights the dangerous smoke-and-mirrors world of psychiatry. It's a world where arrogant 'professionals' can pretty much claim whatever they want without having to show any evidence. Burn and Baldwin had a golden opportunity to ethically inform the public that there is a growing problem of psychiatric drug withdrawal. But instead of improving public health and safety, they chose to protect their own image and economic livelihood.

Burn, Baldwin, and indeed the whole college are walking a tightrope but they have a wide safety net beneath them should they fall. The consumers of the products the college promotes and prescribes have no such safety net, many have died while others have fallen and will continue to fall as long as the likes of Burn and Baldwin continue to publicly deny reality.

Shame on Burn. Shame on Baldwin. Shame on the Royal College of Psychiatry. Their PR game is a crying shame that will cause more avoidable harms to the unsuspecting public.


Bob Fiddaman





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