the WPA. It was noted that the same model should be used in the preparation of WPA consensus statements on other topics that are of practical importance but which do not yet have sufficient evidentiary basis for the development of quality control standards.
The participants in national meetings felt that the WPA is well placed to be proactive in the evaluation of new methods of treatment and that its active engagement in this area would enhance its usefulness to the member societies and to the functioning of mental health services at national level.
The fact that a number of pharmaceutical companies provided support to the WPA in order to review the evidence was also discussed at national meetings. In this respect, three points were considered to be of particular importance: (1) all the major companies (rather than only one, or a small number, of them) were invited to make contributions, and these contributions were accepted in accordance with the rules adopted by the General Assembly of the WPA; (2) no representative of the industry participated in the work of the Task Force, and the industry had no rights to veto any materials produced by the Task Force; and (3) the Technical Review served as a background technical document to the Executive Committee’s consideration of the text of the Consensus Statement prepared for consideration by the General Assembly of the WPA. The companies were invited to present published materials relevant to the review and were given an opportunity to look at the text of the review. The Task Force examined the materials and the suggestions in the same way in which it examined the comments and suggestions offered by individual experts and institutions invited to submit opinions during the preparation of the review.
The national meetings endorsed the recommendations of the Task Force contained in the Technical Review. The meeting participants felt that the SGAMs should be among the options considered for the initial treatment of people with psychotic disorders. They were in agreement with the notion that the WPA should become actively involved in negotiations and other actions necessary to increase access to the new medications – through appropriate pricing, faster review processes, improved distribution systems for medications, and other measures. The notion that the WPA should work with the World Health Organization in this context was seen as a particularly positive one..
The participants at national meetings also agreed with the recommendation that health staff, as well as patients and their families, should be given opportunities to upgrade and update their knowledge about psychiatric treatment in general and about the use of new medications or other new treatments in particular. They also stressed the difficulties in providing appropriate and unbiased training in this respect. Information about new medications, for example, is usually only available from companies that produce them and therefore possibly biased. Governments seem to invest little in in-service training, and psychiatric societies usually lack the resources to organize and provide it. In this respect, the activities of the WPA were seen as being very useful, albeit insufficient. The WPA has produced training materials about some disorders though not about many others; many of the materials are available only in English, and it is not always easy to find out that they exist or where to get them. Some national psychiatric societies