Disease and the Development of Medicines


What are placebos?

2 years ago


2 Replies




Nona Johnson

2 Answers

Sarah M Profile Picture
Sarah M Verified Sherpa Tutor ✓

A professional Science Tutor with over 15 years of experience.

14 reviews

When scientists are carrying out clinical trials for a new medicine they need to have a control group to compare their results. Just in case the act of taking a tablet or pill, for example, has an affect on a patient they use a placebo in the control group of patients. The placebo has no medicinal effect and the control group takes this and can therefore be compared to a test group which are actually given the medicine.

I'm available for 1:1 private online tuition!

Click here to view my profile and arrange a free introduction.
Prit Shah

Let me explain this to you with an example. When a trial is conducted where a certain population is divided into 2 groups randomly, 1 group is given the substance or medication on which the actual trial is being conducted and the other group is given a Placebo. It is basically a substance that looks like a pill but has no effect on your body. Now, these groups are not aware if they have been given the actual medication or a placebo which is called Blinding to avoid any Bias. Then the trial is followed up for several days.

Think you can help?

More Biology GCSE Questions
Sherpa Badge

Need a GCSE Biology tutor?

Get started with a free online introductions with an experienced and qualified online tutor on Sherpa.

Find a GCSE Biology Tutor