Amazingly, I ran across an article from October 2008 describing the results of a survey from the US National Institute of Health which randomly sampled 1,200 internists and rheumatologists (arthritis doc’s). The survey found that 62% of the 697 doctors who responded believed it was ethical to give a placebo treatment and all but 5% would not inform the patient that the treatment was fake. Further, most medical doctors used actual prescription drugs to fool their patients. 41% used painkillers, 38% used vitamins, 13% used antibiotics, 13% used SEDATIVES, 3% used saline (salt water) INJECTIONS and 2% used actual sugar pills.
I have to wonder if this accounts for the rare times when I hear a patient say their MD recommended a vitamin! I wonder how to reconcile this with the objections against natural medicine not being evidence based.
By the way. I am very interested in the placebo effect. And am very impressed that it is almost as effective as most prescription drugs on the market. I do however object to deception, especially when dealing with the precious spark of life and find it doubly objectionable that they would use drugs with a long laundry list of potentially dangerous side effects to dupe their patients into feeling better. This is an example of bad medicine.