Latest News

97 percent of British doctors admit to giving patients useless drugs

By Mason White 6:41 AM March 22, 2013
Prescription drugs illustration 

By: Debbie Gross
Nearly all doctors in Britain admitted to giving patients worthless drugs, according to a new study released this week.

Most British doctors have admitted to prescribing medications to patients that had no active ingredients in addition to placebos, unproven treatments, nonessential physical exams and blood tests.

Researchers from the Universities of Oxford and Southampton in the United Kingdom found that 97 percent of doctors have used impure placebo treatments, while 12 percent have used pure placebo treatments. A random sample of physicians considered representative of all U.K. doctors registered with the General Medical Council were surveyed online with 783 responses.

The results that were published Thursday showed that the ethical attitudes towards the use of placebo varied among physicians.
Impure Placebos are treatments that have not been tested, such as antibiotics for suspected viral infections or, more commonly, nonessential physical exams and blood tests meant to reassure patients.

Pure Placebos are treatments like sugar pills or injections of saline solution containing no active ingredients.
About 84 percent of physicians said impure placebos or patients undergoing unnecessary blood tests, X-rays or other tests were acceptable.

Another 66 percent said it was ethically acceptable to prescribe drugs without active ingredients even though they will not work at all.