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A placebo is defined as an inactive substance resembling a medication given for psychological effect or as a control in evaluating a medicine believed to be active However the placebo only fits this description under the restraints it has been given by the US Food and Drug Administration which refers to the placebo as an investigational new drug In actuality up until the present much of medicine was built on placebos Not very long ago the rituals and symbols of healing constituted the bulk of the physicians armamentarium In the early decades of the 20th century most of the medication that doctors carried in their little black bags and kept in their office cabinets had little or no pharmacological value against the maladies for which they were prescribed Nevertheless their use in the appropriate clinical context was no doubt frequently beneficialBrown 6 Even though placebos have been proven effective medicine time and time again the FDA remains reluctant to approve them for anything more than clinical research The FDA stands on their disapproval of placebos as medicine on the basis that patients are to be given the best treatment available Who is to say that a placebo is not as if not more effective than the accepted remedy There are an endless variety of cases that have proven placebos inconclusively effective Among the most famous of these cases is the story of Mr Wright who was found to have cancer and in 1957 was given only days to live Hospitalized in Long Beach California with tumors the size of oranges he heard that scientists had discovered a horse serum Krebiozen that appeared to be effective against cancer After Wright begged to receive the serum his physician Dr Philip West finally agreed and gave wright the injection on a Friday afternoon not telling Wright that injection consisted only of water The following Monday the doctor was astonished to find that the patients tumors were
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