Medical Ethics: Ethics of the Placebo in Clinical Practice.


The placebo is not easy to define. As a matter of fact, some scholars are despaired of the possibility of ever finding an adequate definition for the term. However, many current definitions invoke the non-specific nature of the treatment effects as the leading feature of the placebo.

The object of this article was however to address the question of the placebo in clinical practice. This article nonetheless argued that the placebo could be an effective treatment. The article further argued that the use of the placebo does not entail deception. This article equally highlighted guidelines under which the placebo may be used for clinical purposes. This article further suggested that in selected cases, the use of the placebo may also be morally imperative. It is imperative to state that the arguments in this article were presented by three case vignettes.

The article was concluded that the placebo can be beneficial to physicians of many clinical situations


AUTHORS:    Lichtenberg U Heresco-Levy, U Nitzan
JOURNAL:    BMJ Journal of Medical Ethics
URL:              http://www.group.bmj.com

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