Most Australian GPs have used a placebos in their practice and believe prescribing drugs in this fashion to patients is justified, according to new research by two universities.
The research has revealed doctors are openly deceiving patients by giving them medicine proven not to work for discussed conditions, ranging from water-based injections to unnecessary antibiotics.
THE PLACEBO EFFECT
New research has indicated that placebo use by general practitioners (GPs) is remarkably high in Australia, shining a light on the deceptive nature of pharmaceutical prescription in this country.
A new survey by Associate Professor Ben Colagiuri from the School of Psychology at the University of Sydney, and Dr Kate Faasse from the University of New South Wales, examined rates of use and beliefs about placebos in the journal The Australian Journal of General Practice.
Active placebos are defined as “active treatments prescribed solely or primarily to enhance treatment outcomes by increasing positive expectations — rather than through any specific physiological or pharmacological treatment effect”.
Some of the key findings from the new survey have revealed:
- 77% of GPs had offered an active placebo (such as antibiotics for a virus)
- 39% of GPs had offered an inert placebo (such as saline spray or a water-based cream)
- GPs used placebos because they believe they have a strong role in ‘shaping expectations’.
- 53% of GPs felt that administering placebos deceptively was unethical.
- GPs felt that medical trainees would benefit from more education about placebos.
The most concerning news, Associate Professor Colagiuri said, is that in some cases GPs are also prescribing antibiotics, an active medication, for purposes other than its design.
“We already know that doctors and GPs use placebos regularly overseas, but we wanted to see what was happening in Australia,” Associate Professor Ben Colagiuri said.
“The most common case is when a GP prescribes antibiotics when they know or strongly suspect that the patient doesn’t have a bacterial infection.
In these cases, they are prescribing antibiotics as a type of placebo, often because a patient expects or demands treatment. But antibiotics can have side effects and there are problems with antibiotic resistance if we prescribe antibiotics too much.”
According to Colagiuri, one of the most important findings coming from the study is that GPs felt that medical trainees could benefit from more education about the placebo effect.
He said antibiotics were one of the most commonly prescribed active placebos, particularly where patients had a viral illness.
Experts stress that while placebo treatments might help symptoms of an illness, they won’t cure a serious condition such as heart disease or asthma.
The placebo effect occurs when the patient believes a treatment will help them to feel better. These beliefs trigger changes in the central nervous system, such as the release of neurotransmitters in the brain that actually cause improvement.
Usually placebos involve deception, with the vast majority of Australian GPs — more than 80 per cent — believing that giving a placebo is ethical.
Three out of four GPs say they prescribe active placebos, most commonly to treat viral infections.
The second most frequently stated reason given in the current study was because a patient expected or demanded a treatment.
An estimated one in five patients makes at least one request for a prescription or other medical service during clinical consultations, and such requests substantially increase the likelihood of receiving the requested outcome.
Co-author Dr Kate Faasse said the study found rates of placebo use by Australian GPs were similar to those seen in other countries and the current study is in line with international research.
A recent systematic review found that between 17% and 80% of physicians outside Australia had used inert placebos in practice.
“Now we need more focus on understanding the role of psychological and social factors in physical health outcomes,” Dr Faasse said.
“There is so much more than just the active ingredients of a medicine, for example, that can help to improve people’s health.
In terms of future research, I think the possibility that we — either as individuals, or in medical contexts — can be harnessing the placebo effect in our own lives by knowingly using ‘open-label’ placebos is fascinating.”
Australians have been deceived from lack of knowledge about the healthcare system, as fake science and fake medicine continues to kill, steal and destroy the lives of uninformed citizens.
INFLUENCE OF BIG PHARMA
A select group of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical corporations are a well-represented fixture among the most powerful Fortune 500 companies each year, slowly transforming to become one of the largest and most profitable industries in the modern world.
Driven by profit and power, the pharmaceutical industry has shown no regard for personal safety or legal regulations, as consumers continue to trust companies caught intentionally lying to the public and promoting products underpinned by non-objective science and deception.
Prescription drug addiction continues to fly under the radar as the leading cause of drug-induced deaths in Australia — information suppressed to ensure medical giants continue to profit off pain.
The BMJ journal has also revealed that doctors are being unduly influenced by industry-sponsored education events and industry-funded trials for major drugs.
Furthermore, nurses, dietitians, pharmacists and other allied health workers are getting millions of dollars in payments from big pharmaceutical companies for their services.
For example, From October 2014 to September 2015, member companies of pharmaceutical trade association, Medicines Australia, disclosed payments of $89,658,566 to healthcare professionals, including millions in direct cash payments disguised as fees.
Drug companies in Australia had a turnover of approximately $22 billion in 2009-10, and it’s only been on the rise since then, developing new products for companies to market aggressively.
Not to mention that a large majority of scientific papers underpinning the ‘evidence’ of safety that regulates the medicine have turned out to be fraudulent all along.
This includes releasing products across society that have caused major damages throughout history.
When will Australians finally leave the Big Pharma monopoly behind?
Placebos in Australian general practice: A national survey of physician use, beliefs and attitudes | Australian Journal of General Practice
Causes of Death, Australia | Australian Bureau of Statistics
When Big Pharma ‘gets it wrong’ in Australia | TOTT News
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