For me the most surprising thing in this article about the placebo effect is the bit about how medicines work differently in different countries.
By the late '90s, for example, the classic antianxiety drug diazepam (also known as Valium) was still beating placebo in France and Belgium. But when the drug was tested in the US, it was likely to fail. Conversely, Prozac performed better in America than it did in western Europe and South Africa.
Isn't that interesting? If you want your Valium to really work, go to France!
Well, all right, I know that's not what it means, but it would add a whole new dimension to health care if it did work that way.
"Oh, you have an ulcer," the doctor says. "I'll write a prescription for these white pills, to be taken four times a day for two weeks, in Spain."
Can you imagine how much more interesting illness could be?