Saturday, June 28, 2008

Obecalp= Placebo

Fake pills for kids stir controversy.

Doctors raise fears Obecalp, a new children's placebo, will condition them to look for cures in pills.

June 28, 2008
Megan Ogilvie
Toronto Star

"Small, sweet and studded with cherry flavour, Obecalp would easily entice any candy crazy kid.
And for some parents, the white chewable tablets may be equally as tempting.
The medicine, the first of its kind, is marketed as a cure-all for small hurts and ailments, able to treat everything from upset tummies to sleeplessness without the risks of adverse side effects.
That's because Obecalp is nothing more than a fruit-flavoured sugar pill meant to calm and soothe a child using the power of placebo.
Though it may seem harmless, it raises a flurry of ethical questions about whether it conditions kids to always look for a cure in a pill.
"I invented Obecalp when I realized that children might need a little more than a kiss to make it go away," writes Jennifer Buettner on its website, where a bottle of 50 pills can be purchased from anywhere in the world for $5.95 U.S.
The Maryland mother of three launched Obecalp – placebo spelled backwards – online this month.
But experts are wary of Obecalp and say there is no need for a placebo pill in clinical practice, let alone in a parent's medicine cabinet.
Many believe it is wrong to intentionally dupe children into thinking a sugar pill is real medicine. And others are concerned a placebo will set a dangerous pill-popping precedent for children, creating a generation of kids who believe every ill and ailment can be fixed with medication.
"Almost no pediatrician would prescribe it and few parents would turn to it," says Dr. Maden Roy, chief of general pediatrics at McMaster Children's Hospital and who consulted other hospital pediatricians about the product."
The rest of the story can be read here.
I am sitting here shaking my head in disbelief as I am reading this story.
Just what have we become as a society that we expect, no demand, instant gratification?
Are we all with the mindset that a *pill* can cure just about anything?
Are there parents out there who will fall for this marketing ploy?
Unfortunately I know that there will be many who will purchase these and soon will be *prescribing pills* to their children instead of using their common sense and kissing the boo-boo away.
How very very sad.


sablonneuse said...

Just caught up with your posts again. They are always so interesting. I agree with you about offering a placebo for every little thing but I do remember as a child I used to get frightenly short of breath - a nervous thing rather than asthma - but doctors in those days didn't know what to do about it. My grandmother used to produce her 'magic medecine', (I don't know what it was but it certainly wasn't a drug) and it would calm me down while she tried to take my mind off it with a story.

Mental P Mama said...

What an anxiety-ridden group we've become...

David said...

I agree with mental p mama. What a society we are becoming. When I was a kid, there was a rumor that tic tacs gave you energy. We ate them like mad before playing sports.
When I look back it seems so innocent next to the caffeine induced energy drinks that are sucked up by the gallon, by kids looking to go faster and further.

Nervus Rex said...

This is awful awful awful and it's sad how we turn to fake cures over nurturing/solving puzzles.

When I worked in home care and on Medicine Units, every patient we had was on anti-depressants/anti-anxiety medications. Plus every other pill under the sun. And the side effects from pills on top of pills does so much damage!

It's an easy "fix", but we've become lonely, anxious pill junkies.

Thanks for a good post... and you've set me up for a soap box!

photowannabe said...

Why do we think all our problems and difficulties can be solved with a pill? It seems the easy fix is the only answer. No one wants to say NO or it hurts or I have to work out my own problems. Scary times and I am concerned for the inventors kids.
Whew, its mind boggling.

bobbie said...

What a terrible idea! I'm sure another problem with it can be that kids who learn to love these pills could also try other pills, expecting them to taste as good.

JeanMac said...

And when the Obecalp no longer works, they will be conditioned to find bigger, better and stronger.

Joy Des Jardins said...

This is an issue that has bothered me for a long time Bear Naked. My oldest daughter is a teacher for 1st and 2nd grade learning disabled children. Many of them are on medication, so she deals with this all the time. She has been very frustrated by the haphazard use of many of these medicaations on these little children...many of them are way over-medicated and have a very hard time concentrating in class. It's just a sad state of affairs that really needs some serious addressing.

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