By Matthew Herper and Robert Langreth, From Forbes Magazine, Issue Date March 29, 2010
Instead of ignoring the placebo effect, doctors should try to enhance it, says a Harvard Medical School professor.
This interesting discussion on the placebo effect is worth a read. The presence of the placebo effect is well-known and generally accepted in medicine, though it may be frequently argued as to when it is taking place or not – especially when one’s own treatment is being questioned.
From a policy standpoint, a legitimate question is whether those treatments that have a significant placebo component are ethical to the degree there may be conscious deception on the part of the practitioner – on behalf of helping their patient. In addition, should third parties such as insurance or government be asked and expected to pay for placebo interventions?