Whether it be a kiss over a booboo or a colorful Band-Aid, we all have special ways of comforting our children when they are hurt or don’t feel well. A recent article from the New York Times describes a woman who believes she has the answer to every child’s minor ailments.
Jennifer Buettner came up with the idea of marketing a placebo (sugar pill) medicine for kids while she was caring for her young niece who was not feeling well. Her niece was laying it on a little thick and had an obvious case of hypochondria when Buettner was told by a relative to give her niece some Motrin since she believed it was the most benign thing to give.
Buettner found it unnecessary to give real medicine to her niece and decided it would be a great idea for parents to have the option of handing out sugar pills when their kids were exaggerating an illness. She calls her pills Obecalp (Placebo spelled backwards) and will be selling them by the bottle (50 pills) on her website for around $6 a bottle. She plans on coming up with a liquid form of the sugar pill as well.
As expected by Buettner there has been a lot of controversy surrounding Obecalp. Dr. Howard Brody, a medical ethicist and family physician, believes the continual use of placebo pills during childhood can be harmful. Brody says, “Kids grow up thinking that the only way to get better is by taking a pill.” Brody adds that kids may never learn that scraped knees and colds can improve on their own.
Buettner defends her product by saying she is not promoting drug use with Obecalp. She adds that “the over prescription of drugs is a serious problem, and I think there needs to be an alternative.” Buettner believes her pill can reduce potential harms from unnecessary medicines.
What do you think of Jennifer Buettner’s placebo pill for children?
Is this something you would offer your children when and if the need arose?