Medical Placebo Controversy

A study has just been published that looks into the mostly overlooked ingredients of placebo pills used in clinical trials and medical testing. The results are stirring controversy.

Researchers directed by the University of California Foundation Fund examined the data from several major medical journals for a two year period. The intent of the researchers investigation was to ascertain exactly how many medical studies list the ingredients of the placebo on average. “Most studies did not disclose the composition of the study placebo,” the study revealed. The researchers found that nearly 92% of the studies did not list their placebo ingredients. The danger of not knowing the ingredients of a medical study’s placebo are obvious. If the pharmaceutical company wants their new drug to yield benefits to the test subjects, they simply have to use placebo ingredients that adversely affect the condition that the new drug is supposed to mitigate. For a new drug to be considered a success it must simply be of more benefit to the test subjects than doing nothing, which is what the placebo is intended to represent. “Placebos were seldom described in randomized, controlled trials of pills or capsules. Because the nature of the placebo can influence trial outcomes, placebo formulation should be disclosed in reports of placebo-controlled trials,” concluded the research group.

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