Examples Of Ethics In Placebo

743 Words3 Pages
Ethical dilemma: Is it ethical for doctors to prescribe placebo to patients? In this type of study the experimentation are determined by the study protocol, which means that ethical considerations are of great importance in the design of the study. Such ethical considerations can for example be that no patient should be denied to have an appropriate treatment due to his participation in the experiment (Bonita et al., 2006). However, the dilemma that will be considered in this paper is the ethics concerning a placebo treatment, also known as a sham treatment. There are various definitions of placebo, and according to Cambridge Dictionary it is defined as “a substance given to someone who is told that it is a particular medicine, either to make…show more content…
However, it can also be used in the control group, even though there is already a treatment that is accepted. A case where there already is an acceptable treatment, it might be seen as unethical to prescribe a placebo. Arguments that say that placebo is morally wrong can be for example: (1) It would be morally wrong to put patients on a medicine that could either harm or hurt them psychologically, (2) It would be morally wrong to put people at risk against their will or in a way that may be against their will, (3) The doctor deceives the patients and let them believe they will receive an effective treatment, but instead they get a placebo. Due to these arguments, it can be suggested that a placebo is unethical and violates the patients right to be completely and truthfully informed about the treatment (Lichtenberg et al.,…show more content…
(2004) claim that the argument of placebo only being unethical is overstated. They claim that such an assumption mean that only pharmacology or similar procedures can be used to help the patient. They continue to write that this is not true and that “the placebo is a deception only for those who would reduce treatment to a purely biomedical pursuit” (p. 551-554). The writers also claim that the physicians try to maximize the therapeutic effect without being dishonest with the patients. It is therefore important in what way the physician reports the nature of the placebo to the patient. It could be done by stating that the physician tells the patients that he can prescribe a medication that he believes can make the patient feel better, but do not know exactly how it works and what side effects it may have. Doing so, the physician does not intend to be deceptive, rather honest and open with the patient. However, if it is proven that the placebo is ineffective, it should be instantly withdrawn. Furthermore, the placebo should not be given if there is another treatment that the doctor believe and expects is more effective, and only used in those cases where it is considered to be mainly beneficial. A placebo can be effective under certain circumstances, such as the patient is suffering from side effects or is uninfluenced and does not respond to the standard treatment (Lichtenberg et al.,

More about Examples Of Ethics In Placebo

Open Document