I found this entry on the WSJ Health Blog and all the comments very interesting. At the core, the issue is that if a physician prescribes a placebo (sugar pill, vitamin, OTC, antibiotic) to make the patient feel better even though it medically won’t (but may mentally)…is there something wrong with that.
Obviously, if it drives a financial burden for the patient, that would be wrong, but I don’t see physicians doing that.
If it prescribed a medication that had serious side effects, that would be wrong, but I don’t see physicians doing that.
If it was a simple remedy (e.g., take B12), that doesn’t seem harmful. There have been plenty of arguements about medications like antidepressants and whether they work, but they still get prescribed quite a bit.