Advertisements for pharmaceuticals may promote placebo responses by generating an expectation of therapeutic success. Some cite this as reason to favour Direct to Consumer Advertising of Prescription Pharmaceuticals (DTCA). Against this, I show placebo responses to emanate from beliefs rendered unjustified by the influence of a conditioning process. I argue that drug safety and efficacy are material properties and that unjustified beliefs in these domains entail costs to autonomy that outweigh any prudential gains attending a placebo response. I conclude that its placebogenic potential ought not to count as reason to favour DTCA.

Biegler P. Placebogenic potential is no reason to favour pharmaceutical advertising. Journal of Business Ethics 2014; 123 (1): 145-155