Pharmaceutical giant Otsuka Pharmaceutical claims they have developed a more potent placebo that has been proven to work better in controlled experiments than other doctor prescribed placebos.
“Our placebo has a foul taste and smell”, said Otsuka representative Peter Gruber. “Also, our placebo is more expensive than most other placebos. In addition, our pills have a happy, smiling face on them. This gives the patient more confidence that the drug will be effective”.
Gruber claims that in controlled experiments involving 1,227 patients with maladies ranging from osteoarthritis to pancreatitis, 38% of the Otsuka placebo patients reported feeling relief from their symptoms as opposed to only 23% using a standard placebo.
A spokesperson for pharmaceutical rival Bristol-Myers Squibb claimed that Otsuka’s placebo was no more effective that theirs and, in some cases, inferior.
“Perhaps Otsuka’s placebo is better at controlling arthritis but our is better at alleviating urinary symptoms and erectile dysfunction”, said Bristol-Myers Squibb spokesperson Vanessa Hardon.
Meanwhile, Eli Lily and Co. claimed that Otsuka was not selling a true ‘placebo’ because the product contains Chinese herbs and is actually a legitimate medication.
Otsuka spokespeople claim the herbs are only for foul taste and smell but do not contribute to the drug’s overall effectiveness.
Placebos have become an $18 billion industry. Doctors and pharmacists routinely prescribe placebos to their patients.