Placebo surgery: Council & HRA host roundtable discussion

On 1 May, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics held a roundtable discussion with the Health Research Authority (HRA) on the issue of placebo surgery.

In its 2012 report, Novel neurotechnologies: intervening in the brain, the Council identified the ethical issues of ‘sham’ (or placebo) surgery, in particular in relation to developments within the field of neural stem cell therapies, and the prospect of clinical trials in this area.

In the report, the Council recommended that guidance should be developed on the kinds of circumstances in which placebo neurosurgery may, or may not, be an appropriate part of clinical trials.

The workshop looked at the issue of placebo surgery more widely, including neurosurgery and orthopaedic surgery, bringing together surgeons, researchers, regulators, research ethics committees and patient representatives.

Discussions focused on whether and when placebo surgery is appropriate; the concerns of those carrying out and receiving the procedures; the current regulatory framework within which research is carried out; and whether further clarification, guidance or advice is needed.

Further background, blogs, news and policy papers linked to the Council’s report on novel neurotechnologies are available online.

Sign up for alerts

Enter your email address and choose your alerts

 

Previous work

Contact us

Nuffield Council on Bioethics
28 Bedford Square
London
WC1B 3JS

bioethics@nuffieldbioethics.org

+44 (0)20 7681 9619

Get regular e-news

Community

Explore by topic