Journal of Medical Ethics 40 (4):219-224 (2014)

Abstract
Placebos are arguably the most commonly prescribed drug, across cultures and throughout history. Nevertheless, today many would consider their use in the clinic unethical, since placebo treatment involves deception and the violation of patients’ autonomy. We examine the placebo's definition and its clinical efficacy from a biopsychosocial perspective, and argue that the intentional use of the placebo and placebo effect, in certain circumstances and under several conditions, may be morally acceptable. We highlight the role of a virtue-based ethical orientation and its implications for the beneficent use of the placebo. In addition, the definitions of lying and deception are discussed, clarified and applied to the clinical placebo dilemma. Lastly, we suggest that concerns about patient autonomy, when invoked as a further argument against administering placebos, are extended beyond their reasonable and coherent application
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DOI 10.1136/medethics-2012-101314
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References found in this work BETA

Virtue Ethics.Rosalind Hursthouse & Glen Pettigrove - 2009 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Pursuit of the Ideal.IsaiahHG Berlin - 2013 - The Crooked Timber of Humanity: Chapters in the History of Ideas.
A Duty to Deceive: Placebos in Clinical Practice.Bennett Foddy - 2009 - American Journal of Bioethics 9 (12):4-12.
The Ethics of the Placebo in Clinical Practice.P. Lichtenberg - 2004 - Journal of Medical Ethics 30 (6):551-554.

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Citations of this work BETA

Placebo and Deception: A Commentary.Anne Barnhill & Franklin G. Miller - 2015 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 40 (1):69-82.

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