High quality placebos should be used

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7063.1009 (Published 19 October 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:1009
  1. Amanda Georgioux, Lecturer in public health
  1. Division of Public Health, Nuffield Institute for Health, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9PL

    EDITOR,—In his editorial Kenneth J Rothman states that “as medical knowledge accumulates, the number of placebo trials should fall” and that “placebo control should no longer be part of the gold standard.”1 I disagree with the latter statement. The main purposes of the placebo are to protect evaluations of outcome from (i) the effects of experimenter bias, by enabling blind assessment; and (ii) the influence of patients' expectations, by controlling for non-specific aspects of health …

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