More on Placebo effectiveness– Inverse Price Sensitivity in Medicine?

Perhaps this recent American Medical Association study on pain medication reveals a truism about health care costs. Price sensitivity is one of the factors free market people cite as essential to control costs in medicine. Yet in this study comparing high and low price placebos patients felt better, had better pain control, with the more expensive placebo.

Does this mean that when seeking treatment alternatives patients low price has a negative connotation? If true, this adds another factor to the failure of free markets in health care.

The other factors are

1. Lack of complete knowledge and understanding of the medical situation and treatment alternatives

2. Emergent nature of many medical problems

3. A marketing system that doesn’t disclose pricing information

4. Patent monopolies that control drug distribution and technology for a generation.

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