An article published in the BMJ (subscription required) has identified that information provided to participants does not adequately address the role of placebos, and that this lack of knowledge about placebos affects participants’ understanding of trials and breaches the ethical obligations of research.
Informed consent requires researchers to provide participants with information about research that is accurate, complete and understandable.
In clinical trials, the authors argue, adequate information must include understandable descriptions of the function of placebos2 and their effects.
This is essential to ensure trial participants are fully informed about the potential benefits and risks of the study. The ethical imperative to ensure that participants understand placebos is made stronger by continued debate about use of placebos and active controls.
You can access the article on the BMJ website.