Is it always unethical to use a placebo in a clinical trial?

Andreas Stang, Hans Werner Hense, Karl Heinz Jöckel, Erick H. Turner, Martin R. Tramèr

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background to the debate: Placebos are used in trials to conceal whether a treatment is being given or not and hence to control for the psychosomatic effects of offering treatment. Placebo-controlled trials are controversial. Critics of such trials argue that if a proven effective therapy exists, a placebo should not be used. But proponents argue that placebo trials are still crucial to prove the efficacy and safety of many treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3
Pages (from-to)177-180
Number of pages4
JournalPLoS Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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