Placebo groups have long been viewed as a necessary evil by the medical profession when no other option is available. Nowadays, wherever possible, clinical trials will involve an ‘active’ control, where the new therapy is measured against the current standard of care available rather than just a placebo. However, a clarification in 2002 by the World Medical Association stated placebo-controlled trials are ethically acceptable even when a proven therapy is available. Fortunately, a potential solution to the ethical quandary raised by placebo groups is on the horizon. The digitisation of health records means real world evidence could be used to create a synthetic control arm to replace clinical trials’ existing control arms. Learn More