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Should Deception Play a Role in Helping a Child Feel Better?

By May 28, 2008 - 11:48am
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This question came courtesy of the New York Times in an article about a new product created by a company called Efficacy Brands.

The product, the New York Times says is a chewable, cherry-flavored dextrose tablets called Obecalp, for placebo spelled backward. It goes on sale on June 1 at the Efficacy Brands Web site. Bottles of 50 tablets will sell for $5.95. The Buettners have plans for a liquid version, too.

The Times goes on to report that because the pills contain no active drug, the pills will not be sold as a drug under Food and Drug Administration rules. They will be marketed as dietary supplements, meaning they can be sold at groceries, drugstores and discount stores without a prescription.

The idea is the brainchild of Jennifer Buettner who was taking care of her young niece when the idea struck her. The child had a nagging case of hypochondria, and Ms. Buettner’s mother-in-law, a nurse, instructed her to give the girl a Motrin tablet.

“She told me it was the most benign thing I could give,” Ms. Buettner said. “I thought, why give her any drug? Why not give her a placebo?”

So what are your thoughts? Should children be given a placebo to make them feel better?

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