Placebo threatened with extinction

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 53 , No. 5 , June 2011 , Pages 236 News

According to an article in the April issue of The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, the use of placebos is now facing growing backlash from the medical community. In addition to being perceived as deceptive toward the patients treated, the use of placebos in drug licensing raises concerns regarding the scientific integrity of the randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Recent evidence has pointed to the pharmaceutical industry corrupting the RCTs in its attempt to use the trials as marketing devices. 

Compounding these issues are lax FDA regulations, which allow for RCTs to be conducted with placebos but without comparison against an active agent, and weak methodology, particularly in regard to double-blind trials. Often the double blind (where neither patient nor doctor knows who is receiving the placebo or active agent) is not maintained. 

Placebos won’t go the way of the dinosaurs anytime soon though: some physicians still see the advantages, particularly psychiatrists (when surveyed, 60% of psychiatrists found the use of placebos to be beneficial for patients).

. Placebo threatened with extinction. BCMJ, Vol. 53, No. 5, June, 2011, Page(s) 236 - News.



Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

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