More Expensive Placebos Bring More Relief

Following up on a news item we reported in February (My Cortex Made Me Buy It), a recent medical study adds credence to the misplaced notion that expensive = effective.

Researchers asked study participants to rate the effectiveness of two pills allegedly designed to provide pain relief.  The subjects were told that one pill cost $2.50, while the other pill cost $0.10. Each subject was given a small electrical shock and asked to rate the effectiveness of each pill.  In truth, both pills were placebos (sugar pills).

For both pills, subjects perceived significant pain relief (a placebo effect). But with the $2.50 pill, perceived pain relief was 24 percentage points higher than for the $0.10 pill.

Let's hope this doesn't give pharma companies justification to raise prices...