Tag: ethics

Placebos as Medicine: The Ethics of Homeopathy

Is it ever ethical to provide a placebo treatment? What about when that placebo is homeopathy? Last month I blogged about the frequency of placebo prescribing by physicians.  I admitted my personal discomfort, stating I’d refuse to dispense any prescription that would require me to deceive the patient. The discussion continued in the comments, where opinions seemed to range from (I’m paraphrasing) ...

/ June 9, 2011

What’s with the new cough and cold products?

One of my earliest lessons as a pharmacist working in the “real world” was that customers didn’t always act the way I expected. Parents of sick children frequently fell into this category — and the typical vignette went like this for me: Parent has determined that their child is sick, and needs some sort of over-the-counter medicine. Parent asks pharmacist for advice...

/ November 26, 2010

Science-Based Medicine Meets Medical Ethics

There are four main principles in medical ethics:  Autonomy  Beneficence  Non-maleficence  Justice Autonomy means the patient has the right to consent to treatment or to reject it. Autonomy has to be balanced against the good of society. What if a patient’s rejection of treatment or quarantine allows an epidemic to spread? Beneficence means we should do what is best for the patient....

/ August 4, 2009

Placebo Therapies: Are They Ethical?

Is it ethical to overstate the efficacy of a treatment option, if it might lead to a patient’s enhanced experience of that treatment? Your response to this question may reveal the degree to which you favor Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Let me explain. As far as I can tell, no CAM treatment has been proven effective beyond placebo. (If you’re not...

/ March 18, 2009

Canadian Justice: Breast-Fondling Chiropractor Faces “Interpersonal Skills Training”

There is something unexpectedly sinister about this news report from my former home town in Canada. Apparently, a local chiropractor has been using his “medical training” to excuse his sexual misconduct. Here’s the story from the Halifax Chronicle Herald: During a hearing in July, the woman said the chiropractor would frequently grip her around the ribs and hold tight, sometimes cupping her...

/ November 20, 2008