Home > Issue 1 (Volume 13) > The placebo medication phenomenon – Moral issues
Posted By :
Comments : Off


The purpose of this review is to analyze the placebo medication phenomenon or placebo effect. In modern medical research, placebo is an important methodological tool, as it is used to control the usefulness of another substance (e.g a medication) in controlled laboratory conditions. There are various forms of use of placebo such as “sugar pills” up to surgery. The placebo effect raises both legal and ethical issues, as part of scientific research should be adapted to the rules of Greek and European legislation. From an ethical point of view, research will be subject to ethical principles in order to respect human existence and protect health and human rights. Nowadays, the placebo phenomenon is recognized by the scientific community as a whole, while at the same time it is the same subject of study aimed at clarifying its mechanisms of action. After researching books and articles of the past decade about the placebo effect, an attempt was made to present the bioethical side of this issue. The placebo effect has been known since the 14th century; however, it was first used in 1955 by Henry Beecher. This was catalytic in terms of changing the way clinical trials were conducted. Plus, when trying any drug it should be compared with a placebo. This method is an important help because we can measure the efficacy of a drug. It is known that approval of a drug will only be done if it has more positive results than placebo.

Keywords: Bioethical approach, placebo, placebo effect.

About the Author