Half of all German doctors prescribe placebos, new study shows

  • metta

    Posts: 39099

    Mar 09, 2011 12:05 AM GMT
    Half of all German doctors prescribe placebos, new study shows


    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/mar/06/half-german-doctors-prescribe-placebos
  • xebec75

    Posts: 243

    Mar 09, 2011 3:52 AM GMT
    Good...half the time placebos work just as well as 'the real' thing. I wish American docs would prescribe placebo antibiotics, placebo antidepressants, placebo sleep aids to people who should just deal. Be sick and let their immune systems or a therapist do their job. <--- obviously, seriously ill folks should get real things
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    Mar 09, 2011 6:44 AM GMT
    In one hand I think this is great, especially for anti-depressants. In many patients, most of the improvement caused by SSRIs is actually just a placebo effect. So why not just prescribe placebo like these doctors are doing--and avoid all the nasty side effects?

    The problem is that, once most patients became aware of what was happening, the placebo effect would go out the window.

    This one is going to be hard to solve.
  • musclmed

    Posts: 3274

    Mar 09, 2011 3:01 PM GMT
    well at least from my training it had been considered unethical to prescribe a placebo.
    In practice its all about presentation.

    On placebo Darvocet, is off the market. Which is good.
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    Mar 13, 2011 5:04 AM GMT
    Germany certainly isn't the USA, where the chances of medical malpractice lawsuits are much higher. A comparative analysis of medical malpractice in Canada, England and Wales, Germany, and India showed just how different the awards are compared to the USA:

    "- No jury or punitive damages (Germany, India);

    - Legally established guidelines for the calculation of damages limit recovery to certain sums (Canada, Germany, India);

    - A considerable amount of the losses resulting from personal injury are borne by the social security system;

    - The availability of free medical treatment and medications:
    Unlimited paid sick leave, generous pension plans, and welfare benefits (Germany);

    - The practical difficulty of establishing professional negligence in court (Canada); and

    - Partial recovery of the plaintiff’s litigation expenses where the case is not fully satisfied, which discourages plaintiffs from claiming higher amounts of damages in cases where the courts are not allowed to award damages beyond the amount of recovery sought (Germany)."

    It doesn't make sense to compare apples to oranges. If and when placebos are shown to be comparable to proven medical therapies for certain diseases such that they become the "standard of care" (used by lawyers to determine if a physician was negligent, for purposes of bringing forth medical malpractice lawsuits), then there would be no issue. However, other things like tort reform need to happen first. Luckily Texas is ahead of other states when it comes to preventing junk medical lawsuits.