According to a survey by the University of Chicago, 48 percent of doctors said "they have given at least one treatment when there was no evidence it would work."
One of the most common placebo treatments was the prescription of antibiotics for viral infections that do not respond to antibiotics.
The reasons the doctors gave for their actions included calming a patient down, responding to demands for medication that the doctor felt was unnecessary, or simply trying to do something after all other clinical treatment options had failed.
Ninety-six percent of the physicians surveyed believe that dummy pills can have real therapeutic effects. However, 12 percent thought placebos should be banned completely from regular clinical practice, and 20 percent admitted to outright lying to patients by claiming a placebo was an active medication.
* The Consumerist January 9, 2008