Impure placebo as an unsound concept and other problems in the paper by Howick et al. : [eLetter]

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Louhiala , P , Puustinen , R & Hemilä , H 2013 , ' Impure placebo as an unsound concept and other problems in the paper by Howick et al. [eLetter] ' , PLoS One , vol. 8 , no. 3 , e58247 . https://doi.org/10.13140/2.1.2591.8246

Title: Impure placebo as an unsound concept and other problems in the paper by Howick et al. : [eLetter]
Author: Louhiala, Pekka; Puustinen, Raimo; Hemilä, Harri
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Hjelt Institute (-2014)
University of Helsinki, Department of Public Health
Date: 2013
Language: eng
Number of pages: 4
Belongs to series: PLoS One
ISSN: 1932-6203
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/42791
Abstract: Howick et al. have reported the findings of a survey that addressed the use of placebos among primary care practitioners in the United Kingdom. They adopted methodology similar to that used in previous studies performed in other countries; however, the use of this approach also means that they repeated the conceptual confusion of the previous surveys. Therefore the findings are not useful. ... The paper’s main finding “placebos are commonly used in UK primary care” is not correct. Only 0.9% of the responding general practitioners reported using pure placebos frequently. The frequency with which impure placebos are used is irrelevant because the concept is useless, as described above. Misleading a patient by administering inert substances without the explicit consent of the patient is unethical. The authors' proposal to “develop ethical and cost-effective placebos” is not possible because saving money by misleading patients is unethical. There is substantial conceptual confusion in the area of placebo and placebo-effect research, and the paper by Howick et al. does not help to reduce this confusion.
Subject: 3121 General medicine, internal medicine and other clinical medicine
placebo effect
Placebo
Physician's Practice Patterns
Primary Health Care
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