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).
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
The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.
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For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org