Here is an extract from the article:
Next up was Tamsin Nicholson (UK) from the University of Glasgow. She pitched her idea that she believes would help millions. She hopes to break the status quo in less developed nations by incorporating conditioned placebo response into treatment plans to improve access to medicine in least developed countries.
Improving access to medicine is one of the greatest challenges in global medicine. Currently, 50% of the population in the least developed countries (LDC’s) in Africa and Asia do not have access to essential medication, contributing to the significantly lower (17.5 years less) life expectancy in LDC’s compared to developed countries. But there may be an answer to this problem.
Research has shown that some patients given an active medication for 4 days, followed by a placebo, will respond to the placebo as if it were the active drug for 48 hours. This is called the conditioned placebo response and if applied in global medicine, it could potentially reduce the cost and amount of active medication required by one third.
There are, however ethical implications to this approach: informed consent, treatment efficacy standards and others. However, research has shown that patient deception is not always necessary and that the conditioned placebo response could have equal efficacy to the standard treatment. Much research still needs to be done to clarify the potential of this approach, but the prospective benefits are high and the costs low. There is the potential to greatly improve access to life changing medication in LDC’s.