Doctors often prescribe placebos to patients, according to a new study from the German Medical Association released this week. But that’s not a bad thing, they said, recommending that placebos be used even more often.

“Placebos have much stronger and more complex effects than we used to think. Their use is extremely important in medicine,” said Christoph Fuchs, managing director of the association, adding that pills and injections without active ingredients can be enormously beneficial to patients.

The author of the study, Robert Jütte, said about one in two doctors in Germany prescribes placebos on occasion. In Bavaria, a study found that 88 percent of general practitioners prescribe inactive drugs.

Often, doctors prescribe vitamin pills or homeopathic remedies that contain none of the medicine generally used to treat a specific illness. Some physicians even have agreements with nearby pharmacies who give patients sugar pills when filling prescriptions.
More: http://www.thelocal.de/national/20110303-33471.html