Half of Germany's doctors prescribe placebos
13 March 2011
Magazine issue 2803.
PRESCRIPTIONS of placebos are booming in Germany and Switzerland, reveals a report released last week by the German Medical Association (GMA).
For example, 53 per cent of the doctors from the Medical University of Hannover said they would prescribe placebos such as vitamin pills and homeopathic remedies. Half the doctors in a national Swiss survey agreed.
Their use of such treatments contrasts with the UK, where homeopathic treatments have been rejected by scientists. However, "physicians should be made aware of the value of the placebo effect in the daily treatment of patients", says Christoph Fuchs, chief executive of the GMA. "Their use is of enormous importance for medical practice." The report cautions that placebos should be prescribed only for very minor conditions or where traditional therapies are not available.
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