A new survey suggests nearly half of U.S. doctors are routinely using placebos.
The national survey of nearly 700 doctors found about half admit to regularly using placebos to treat patients.
Dr. Norman Fost, a bio-ethicist with UW-Health, says the findings are troubling. He says it's generally not a good idea to deceive patients because it can make them less likely to trust doctors in the future.
The study had a very broad definition of placebos, which could include sugar pills, pain relievers, or even antibiotics. The Wisconsin Medical Society's Dr. Richard Roberts says that creates a large area to work with. He says doctors are supposed to "do no harm" and have duty to whatever they can to make a person feel better.
Still, Roberts says giving a placebo to patients could cross a line. He says truth is a very important part of the doctor-patient relationship, which can be harmed if the patient is deceived.