The placebo as an ethical problem in clinical research

Main Article Content

Janina Suchorzewska
Stefan Raszeja


The use of the placebo has become standard practice in testing new medicines. However, the permissibility of its use is conditioned by the principle of scientific necessity and the need to avoid risks that can accompany such use. The authors believe that methods involving the withholding of all medicine for periods of several days, as well as the log-term use of a placebo instead of an active medicine, should not be practiced in many illnesses due to the significant risks involved. In experiments that use placebos particular emphasis ought to be placed upon appropriate information concerning these risks. The authors also raise the issue of the objectivity of experiments based upon a control group given a placebo in view of the confirmed therapeutic effects of the placebo itself. A placebo can be used without any restrictions in cases where there are no confirmed therapeutic methods; in situations where an effective cure already exists, it is recommended that the new method be compared with the one presently considered to be best.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Suchorzewska, Janina, and Stefan Raszeja. 2009. “The Placebo As an Ethical Problem in Clinical Research”. Diametros, no. 19 (March):132-36.
Author Biographies

Janina Suchorzewska, Akademia Medyczna w Gdańsku

prof. dr hab. Janina Suchorzewska Akademia Medyczna w Gdańsku

Stefan Raszeja, Akademia Medyczna w Gdańsku

prof. dr hab. Stefan Raszeja Akademia Medyczna w Gdańsku
Share |


Bilikiewicz A., Przeciw nadużywaniu metodologii w psychiatrii, „Psychiatria Polska” (30) 1996, s. 555-560.

Biller-Andorno N., The use of the placebo effect in clinical medicine-ethical blunder or ethical imperative, „Science and Engineering Ethics” (10) 2004, s. 43-50.

Ramsay D.S., Woods S.C., The use and usefulness of placebo controls, „Science” (294) 2001, s. 785.

Raszeja S., Stosowanie placebo, „Gazeta Lekarska” (10) 1996, s. 39-41.

Rybicka J., Zmienność znaczenia placebo, w: Etyka w naukach medycznych, red.: J.M. Dyrda, Śląska AM, Katowice 2003, s. 91-100.

Singer E.A., The Necessity and Value of Placebo, „Science and Engineering Ethics” (10) 2004, s. 51-56.

Smoak R., Placebo: Its Action and Place in Health Research Today, „Science and Engineering Ethics” (10) 2004, s. 9-13.

Vrhovac B., Placebo and the Helsinki Declaration – What to Do?, „Science and Engineering Ethics” (10) 2004, s. 81-93.

Zaborowski P., Górski A., Informed Consent and the Use of Placebo in Poland: Ethical and Legal Aspects, „Science and Engineering Ethics” (10) 2004, s. 167-178.

Most read articles by the same author(s)