Here's a story from the NY Times reporting on a survey that found that nearly half of doctors prescribe placebos on a regular basis. Of course, as the article points out, the definition of a placebo is a little difficult to nail down, but in general I think the practice is despicable. Placebos have been demonstrated to have positive effects, sometimes very large effects. But they rest on the premise of the doctor deceiving the patient. And who wants widespread deception on the part of the medical community? Should I really have to worry about whether or not the medicine that my doctor is giving me is real or not? Shouldn't I be able to trust my doctor?
Anyway, another thing I'm dying to know about the survey is the religious affiliation/beliefs of the doctors who did and didn't prescribe placebos. My guess would be that there's a correlation between religiosity and tendency to prescribe placebos, but maybe there's no correlation at all.