“For a drug to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, it must prove itself better than a placebo, or fake drug. This is because of the ‘placebo effect,’ in which patients often improve just because they think they are being treated with something. If we can’t compare a new drug with a placebo, we can’t be sure that the benefit seen from it is anything more than wishful thinking.
But when it comes to medical devices and surgery, the requirements aren’t the same. Placebos aren’t required. That is probably a mistake.”