The effectiveness of many medical interventions hinges in part on the 'placebo effect,' a person's self-healing power that is stimulated by his or her belief in medical treatments. Health professionals can incite that same effect by giving the patient a chemically inactive pill without revealing its true nature. This strategy is ethically problematic because it conflicts with the patient's right to autonomy. However, the alternative - prescribing a 'real' drug - entails harms too, such as unpleasant or dangerous side effects, and more encompassing problems such as microbial drug resistance. This article examines whether placebo treatment is a form of patient deception and, if so, in what circumstances - if ever - such deceit can be justified.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics|
|Number of pages||8|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 1 2012|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Sciences(all)