The history of clozapine and its emergence in the US market: A review and analysis

ArticleinHistory of Psychiatry 18(1):39-60 · April 2007with38 Reads
Impact Factor: 0.26 · DOI: 10.1177/0957154X07070335 · Source: PubMed


    Clozapine is known as the first 'atypical' medication and is effective in people who have treatment-resistant schizophrenia. Its 1990 emergence in the USA was marked by considerable controversy over its high cost, due in large part to having been both the first new antipsychotic medication to come to market in over a decade and the need for comprehensive safety monitoring within a decentralized health system. This paper traces the history of clozapine's discovery and development in Europe, its part in the 1975 Finnish agranulocytosis scare, and its subsequent volatile emergence in the USA. Analyses examine peripheral forces at the time, particularly the influence of political, corporate, medical and societal forces which shaped its market course.