Stupid is as Stupid Does

I was astonished when I read this article.  Obecalp is a placebo designed for children.  Jennifer Buettner who’s company produced the drug said . . . “When drugs are not needed and the patient still thinks that medicine would help, we believe that the placebo effect can work,”

This is a staggeringly stupid comment!  No, Jennifer, when drugs are not needed, the patient, especially child patients, should not be given them, not even pretend ones.  And they should be told why they don’t need them.  Why would you want to trick our children into thinking that a little fake pill will make them feel better when as adults, we know jolly well that they don’t need the tablet?  What about some tender loving care instead?  No, that’s no good is it!  TLC won’t raise your profits! 

Do we really want to turn our kids into pill-munching addicts who are dependent on drugs for every ache and pain?  I can’t think of a single instance where I would give my children a placebo to treat their illness and pretend it was genuine medication.  If my children are sick enough to need medicine, I will use my own judgement and give them the appropriate medication or I will seek advice from my GP.  If I know my children aren’t physically ill then I will not play along and give them false medicine.  That would be grossly irresponsible.  We should try to distract them from their imaginary illnesses, not pop a pretend pill into their mouths and let them think it’s the solution.

And if a child has a virus, no pill will get rid of it and to give our children a little pretend pill and tell them it will make the virus go away just so the kid will stop fussing and make life easier for the parent is not only untrue, it also gives the child incorrect medical information and encourages a pill-popping mindset. 

But also, we shouldn’t really administer any medication to our children indiscriminately or without assessing whether they really need it.  Painkillers will relieve symptoms and lower temperatures but sometimes a cold compress, a comfy bed and lot’s of snuggles are all that’s needed to make a child feel better.  But importantly, if kids are genuinely ill, they need genuine medication.  A raised temperature for instance won’t be lowered by a placebo and to treat it with one thus keeping it raised can be very dangerous. 

Placebo’s do sometimes work but what’s horrifying about obecalp for children is that it’s endorsing some kind of pill culture and encouraging bad, drug-taking habits.  To paraphrase Douglas Kamerow of the British Medical Journal . . . if parents used placebo’s to comfort their children, they are teaching them that tablets are the solution for every ache and pain.


2 responses to this post.

  1. I cannot be more in agreement with you, Earthpal. I hate pills altogether, but, alas!, my heart demands them to keep going.

    Placebo medication is another way to cheat people.


  2. I know Jose. We don’t like to take them but sometimes the improved quality of life makes it worthwhile. And especially if our life depends on taking medication.


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