A survey of 150 GPs conducted by Dr Shaun Holt finds that many doctors prescribe placebos to their patients. Most doctors said they gave the prescription just to satisfy their patients.
"Placebos have a large amount of power - up to 30 to 40 percent, well documented. And if there's nothing else, I think that they think (if it) will work for a patient they try for that and I think it's reasonable," Dr Holt said.
One in every seven doctors surveyed said they gave out a placebo. Most of them prescribed placebos in order to deal with pushy patients who insisted on a prescription. The results of this survey compare favorably with similar polls in the US where most doctors prescribe placebos because they may help, but not hurt patients.
The details of the survey are published in the New Zealand Medical Journal.