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Mar 28 2013 Do 97% of UK Doctors Prescribe Placebos? A recently published survey at PLOS One of UK primary care doctors reports that 97% have prescribed an “impure placebo” at least once in their career. Most news reporting of this survey leave off the “impure” bit. Let’s take a closer look at what this means. The survey asked about “pure” placebos, which are inactive sugar pills or a similar inactive treatment, and “impure” placebos, which are effective medicines given in a way that might not have a clinical effect.