Still, I’m alarmed at an article in yesterday’s New York Times stating that half of all doctors in the U.S. routinely give their patients placebos. We’re not talking sugar pills here. We’re talking prescribing antibiotics, sedatives, headache pills and pain-killers to patients when the doctors know full well these drugs have no effect on the patient’s illness.
Antibiotics seem to be a favorite, and doctors prescribe them for a wide range of viral infections even though antibiotics have no effect on viral matters, only bacterial ones. Plus, antibiotics are dangerous. Period, end of story.
For example, an American doctor, William Schreiber of Louisville, Kentucky, danced around the obvious ethical implications. First he told the Times he didn’t believe the study’s results. Then, when asked how he treated fibromyalgia or suspected psychosomatic illnesses, he admitted: “The problem is that most of those people are very difficult patients, and it’s a whole lot easier to give them something like a big dose of Aleve. Is that a placebo treatment? Depending on how you define it, I guess it is.”
I suspect that the "whole lot easier" response is typical for half of his professional peers. But a sugar pill is one thing. Antibiotics and sedatives are something else entirely.
Click here for the New York Times article.