British study of schizophrenia drugs

The Washington Post reports today about a British study of schizophrenia drugs concluding that the newer drugs, such as Zyprexa, produce the same results over the long term as the lower cost drugs they were designed to replace, such as Haldol. The British psychiatrist who lead the study, Dr. Peter Jones, and an American psychiatrist from the Veterans Administration, Dr. Robert Rosenheck, observed that

[T]he problem with many drug company studies that seemed to show that new drugs are better is that they focused on short-term results — a symptom or side effect — rather than the big picture: how patients fare long-term.”The story of these newer antipsychotic drugs is a story that reveals an institutional gap,” Rosenheck said. “It should not have needed 10 years to get three government studies.”

This study strikes me as further evidence of the wisdom of the recent Institute of Medicine recommendations that all new drugs undergo a new round of testing five years after their introduction.