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Will the Pill Really Make it All Better

Will the Pill Really Make it All Better

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?

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  • rozziem By rozziem
    07.07.08  

    I find it very irresponsible to offer a placebo to a child. You can't leave it up to intuition if a child is REALLY sick. My personal experience was a rapid virus that almost took my oldest son's life. Had I have given him "fake" medicine he wouldn't be alive today!

  • kattails By kattails
    07.07.08  

    A hug and a talk are my "cup of tea" as a "cure" . Proceed from there.

  • cashonly By cashonly
    07.07.08  

    We all think we know hat isbest for our children, rule of thumb if it concerns you then call a doctor. Each child is different, so each case is different. My son is sick and unless you knew he had a tumor i nthe center of his brain you would think he was a normal child.. Case in Point,,,, each child is different...

  • jen0828 By jen0828
    07.07.08  

    I do not agree with this at all. There are certain symptoms that may not seem like they are serious in the beginning stages that may be the start of something serious. I do not think giving children a "sugar pill" is not a good alernative to the over prescription of drugs to children. I tend to use a warm bath and rest as an alternative.

  • jspyder By jspyder
    07.07.08  

    don't we have enough kids as well as adults who take all kinds of things to make them feel better, I think if we talked more to aour kids we would find they didnot have as many fake illnesses, but need a hud and a warm glass of milk or even a cup of chicken soup. Worked wonders for my kids and grandkids

  • beth0414 By beth0414
    07.07.08  

    Is this really sending the right message? I think a hug and sitting down to really listen to the child is a much better solution than giving them a placebo, which only sends the message that medication cures it all.

  • sallyitg By sallyitg
    07.07.08  

    Any time a child says thaey don't feel well it should be taken seriously. If you think your child may just be looking for attention them give them some and you may find out that they truely are sick. Do we really want to teach kids that a pill can make everything okay? I know i don't want to

  • fourdz By fourdz
    07.07.08  

    I'm not in favor of passing out pills placebo or otherwise. I feel this society is inundated with pills for everything. We don't need another reason to pass out a pill, if your child is just needing some extra attention, the best way to overcome their "illness" is to spend time with them and engage them in some one on one or an activity that they can get interested in. I don't want to teach children to reach for pills everytime there is something "wrong".

  • dezb64 By dezb64
    07.07.08  

    I am not in favor of giving kids pills for every little thing, but after having a child who is a hypocondriac I would have loved to have it. My oldest (now 19) would often claim she was sick when she just needed attention. I would have loved to give her a sugar pill and send her off to school.

  • luckylizzy86 By luckylizzy86
    07.07.08  

    I think giving a sugar pill to a kid is wrong. I mean kids aren't dumb and what happens if their allergic to it becouse the manunfacture didn't give you the right product. More and more children are allergic to more medicine than anything. I don't belive in giving kids pills for a hang nail. how ever for medical reasons I do like asthma. I know a ton of my friends that have kids. I don't have kids. however I have read a lot of articals on medication use on children and adults. and kids don't cry for attention there is something wrong or they tell you they don't what to go to school something is wrong.

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