The Prescribing of Placebos
A new study involving 679 American doctors reports that half of them prescribe placebos to patients according to a New York Times article http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/24/health/24placebo.html?_r=1&ref=health&oref=slogin
In a way this helps with medical costs, but at the same time I think the ethics are a bit shaky. Is it really ok to deceive patients? That is a big ethical challenge, especially with so many unanswered questions. Such as in a clinical setting will the placebos work better? Will they have the same effect if the patient knows like when the 5 percent of doctors tell the patient what they are prescribing to them?
The American Medical Associaton states that “in the clinical setting, the use of a placebo without the patient’s knowledge may undermine trust, compromise the patient-physician relationship and result in medical harm to the patient.
This practice hurts our trust in our doctor and makes me a little more worried about the health care community. What do you think?