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When Placebo Response Isn't Placebo Response

The Perils of Human Raters

Many trials, particularly those for treatments of psychiatric disorders or pain, involve the use of human raters.  This article looks at how human raters can contribute to apparently high placebo response rates.  Drawing on his substantial experience as a board certified psychiatrist conducting clinical trials, Dr. Modell shares examples from his research as well as suggestions for minimizing problems.

This article includes discussion on:

  • Factors that can skew trial patient populations and results
  • Alternatives to human raters
  • Training of research staff


jack-1Jack Modell

Senior Medical Officer

Dr. Modell is a board-certified psychiatrist with 20 years of experience in clinical research, teaching, and patient care in academic medicine. He has over 10 years of experience in clinical drug development (proof of concept through market support), medical affairs, successful NDA filings, medical governance, drug safety, compliance, and management within the pharmaceutical and CRO industries.