50 years chlorpromazine, a celebration
XXIVth CINP Congress, Paris, France, 2004
Thomas A. Ban


Bonjour; good afternoon! Welcome to our symposium: 50 years chlorpromazine, a celebration. I am Thomas Ban, chairman of CINPs history committee.

Ladies and gentlemen! Until the 1950s there was no such scientific discipline as psychopharmacology and there was no effective drug therapy for mental illness. Then, in 1952, chlorpromazine appeared on the psychiatric scene in Paris. It was the first effective drug in mental illness and its impact, by 1954, stimulated research to develop other effective drugs.  Today, psychopharmacology is an established discipline and we have several drugs which can treat mental illness, just as digitalis treats heart disease.  This is what we are celebrating today, so appropriately in Paris, where chlorpromazine was born.

            Our four distinguished speakers, Professors Arvid Carlsson, Leonard Cook, Hanns Hipius and Jean-Pierre Olie, will address different aspects of this history. We will not entertain questions from the audience.

            I would like to thank Dr. Herb Meltzer, CINP’s president for initiating this symposium, and Professor Jean-Pierre Olie, chair of the local organizing committee of this congress, for accepting to give a historical account on the discovery of chlorpromazine, as our first speaker. One of the central figures of this story is the late Professor Pierre Deniker, and Professor Olie is one of his successors at Saint Anne’s Hospital, where the psychopharmacological revolution which swept around the world started.


Thomas A. Ban

August 4, 2016