For Children: A Kiss on the Forehead vs A Placebo Pill
The New York Times article yesterday (one time registration required)
tells the story of a newly developed product, a candy flavored sugar "placebo pill" (called "Obecalp"-placebo spelled backwards) for distressed mothers to give to their distressed children instead of the child being given a pharmaceutical product over the counter or by prescription for only the drug's placebo effect. As you will see from the article, the ethicists including Howard Brody have entered the discussion about it's ethics of use.
Now that a pill that looks, to a child, like medicine but is only sugar is going to be available to all mothers and fathers who are responsible for the care of their child but also the need to maintain some peaceful environment in the home, should parents offer the pill to their child? Is it ethical and honest to give the child a pill, a placebo, knowing it contains no active ingredient in hopes of "doing something" to settle the child? What are the implications regarding conditioning the child into thinking that a "pill" will solve all problems? Should children be given placebo pills if a kiss on the forehead just doesn't do the job? ..Maurice.
GRAPHIC: Photograph courtesy of Arrow Photography.co.uk