Ethics on trial

From Australian Doctor, 18 May, 2006.
PRIMUM non nocere… First, do no harm. There is little room for ambiguity in the principle that governs all medical practitioners, but the same rule does not necessarily apply when it comes to clinical trials. Read more

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2 thoughts on “Ethics on trial

  1. Interesting article B! Does placebo surgery really have such a big effect that it’s necessary to perform it on a control group? Couldn’t you get much the same effect from a pill placebo or some kind of fake laser treatment that doesn’t involve anaesthetising people and cutting them up just for effect?

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  2. Hey Mr D! Apparently surgery can have an enormous placebo effect. The knee arthroscopy trial actually showed that the treatment was not particularly beneficial becuase there was such a large placebo effect. Was a stunning finding because so many people used to undergo arthroscopic surgery and this showed it was not that effective. You could argue that placebo surgery doesn’t necessarily have to involve cutting but the aim is to convince the patients that they have been operated on, so not easy to fake it without going to such extremes. Big dilemma for surgical trials.

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