Facts Are Not Enough

Bill Bernbach

Let me read from a Wall Street Journal story of last year:

“A woman swallowed a pill. It contained only a little milk sugar, but she had been told it was a powerful drug. Within 10 minutes she was suffering severe reactions – first stomach pains, then diarrhea. Her lips swelled and her skin broke out.”

“After taking the same pills two other patients also displayed profound reactions. The experiment was a classic demonstration of the effect of a placebo.”

“The patient believes in it, so it works. From antiquity to this era of medical enlightenment the placebo has been the single most potent and versatile tool for relieving the sufferings that man is heir to,” says a report published last year in the Proceedings of the Mayo Clinic.

“Be it mother's kiss or voodoo drums, leeches, purgatives, poultices or snake oil, the wondrous effect of placebo therapy is undeniably evident.”