Manchester GPs launch world's first placebo-only clinic

First in the world

A team of GPs from Manchester has launched The Placebo Clinic, the first of its kind in the world, to make use of the so-called honest placebo effect.

The placebo effect is one of the most studied in medicine, and can produce remarkable results. Even more fascinating is the finding by a research team at Harvard Medical School that placebos work even when patients know they are taking a placebo.

Doctors with time to care

The team at The Placebo Clinic offer 30-minute video consultations as standard, which gives them the time they need to build strong therapeutic relationships with their patients, as well as being much more convenient than visiting a GP's surgery in person.

Real treatment without side-effects

What makes the clinic truly different from other telemedicine services is that the doctors prescribe only placebo treatments. This means there is absolutely no risk of side-effects.

Help for patients with long-term conditions

The clinic's doctors have a particular interest in treating long-term conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, migraine, chronic fatigue, and insomnia. They can also recommend treatments for use alongside conventional medications for almost any illness.

Trust in science

The clinic's medical director, Dr Paul Jepson, explains the thinking behind the service:

“As a practising GP I have seen the harm that medications can cause, from unpleasant side-effects to withdrawal symptoms and addiction. All too often, medications that are launched as magic bullets fail to live up to the hype, and end up causing more problems than they solve.

“In addition, the current pressures in the NHS mean that GPs have less time to spend with patients, even though we know that a strong doctor-patient relationship based on mutual honesty and respect is the key to success in many cases.

“We wanted to find a way to improve the quality of care our patients received while minimising the risks, and so we came up with the idea of The Placebo Clinic.

Placebo medication has been tried and tested for almost six decades in medical research, but its potential to help patients in day-to-day practice has yet to be fully exploited because it was always thought that it worked only if patients didn't know that what they were taking was a placebo. With the advent of honest placebo treatment, that is about to change."

To book a consultation patients can go online to, email or call 0161 706 0222.

Press release distributed by Pressat on behalf of The Placebo Clinic, on Tuesday 19 March, 2019. For more information subscribe and follow

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