Half of U.S. Doctors Prescribe Placebos
#1
Offered without comment. 
Quote:http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2008/10/24/h...trackback/  October 24, 2008, 9:45 am Half of U.S. Doctors Prescribe PlacebosPosted by Jacob Goldstein [Image: pills_luv_20080124164953.jpg]If you think a pill will make you feel better, it probably will. Doctors have understood this for centuries — and about half of U.S. docs still recommend medicines to patients even when there’s little or no evidence the medicine will do any good.
That finding, published this week in the British Medical Journal, comes from a survey of 679 randomly selected U.S. internists (who provide primary care) and rheumatologists (who treat arthritis).
The survey authors asked about placebos a few different ways. If a study showed that a dextrose tablet (a sugar pill) was more effective in a group of patients than no treatment at all, would doctors prescribe it? Do doctors recommend treatments “primarily because [they] believe it will enhance the patient’s expectation of getting better?”
Depending on how the question was asked, between 46% and 58% reported prescribing placebos on a regular basis. A few reported using truly inert substances, such as saltwater solutions and sugar pills. Some gave antibiotics (which kill bacteria) to patients with viral infections. Far more common were things like vitamins and over-the-counter pain medicines.

The survey was conducted by researchers at the University of Massachusetts and funded by the NIH. The finding is consistent with previous research, and not terribly surprising. But stuff like this always raises interesting ethical questions.

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#2
The do it because of money, not to get the placebo effect (which is valid). Drug companies spend much more time on buying doctors and marketting than they do on making drugs that work (I don't know about amounts, but proportions. If it worked, it wouldn't need cute cartoons and free lunches for the doctors).

Also, the last thing drugs are supposed to do is fix the problem, but cover it up. If it works, there is no need to continue to pay for it, which is what they want.
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