Medical experts rarely agree on the positive effects of placebos and whether they are the ultimate breach of doctor-patient confidentiality. A new study suggests 97% of U.K. doctors are concealing the identity of the medication they are administering to their patients.
The "placebo effect" is described as the positive or negative symptoms someone experiences after taking a medication they do not recognize.
Published Wednesday in the online journal PLos One, a survey drew 783 responses from doctors, most of which were registered with the General Medical Council (GMC), the largest union of physicians in the U.K.
Chairman of the British Medical Association's Ethics Committee, Dr. Tony Calland, says "Prescribing something that you know is of no value is not ethical," the Huff Post reported.
According to the survey, 97 percent of the participating doctors reported using an "impure placebo" at least once in their career. The survey also revealed that 12 percent of physicians admitted to distributing "pure placebos" to their patients.
"This is not about doctors deceiving patients," says Dr. Jeremy Howick, co-lead author of the study from the University of Oxford. "The study shows that placebo use is widespread in the UK, and doctors clearly believe that placebos can help patients."
"Impure placebos" are classified as medications that are not proven to have any medical benefits or health tests offered solely for the patient's reassurance. "Pure placebos" include sugar pills or any tablet with no medicinal properties.
The survey also concluded that 90% of doctors objected to their use if it endangered the trust they have established with their patients and upwards of 80% were against using them if they considered it deception.
Published by Medicaldaily.com