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Therapeutic misconception arises wherever human subjects misunderstand the primary purpose of a clinical trial as therapeutic. The phenomenon was first described in an article by Paul S. Appelbaum. APPELBAUM, P.S., ROTH, L.H., LIDZ, C.W., BENSON, P., and WINSLADE, W. (1987). False hopes and best data: Consent to research and the therapeutic misconception. Hastings Cent. Rep. 17, 20–24.

"For over three decades, bioethics scholarship and research ethics guidelines have identified concerns about the boundaries between research and standard clinical care. Ethicists have argued that informed consent to participate in research should include clarification of the differences between these two activities. In 1982, Appelbaum and colleagues reported on findings from interviews with patients with psychiatric disorders that documented failure to appreciate the difference between research and treatment, labeling the phenomenon “therapeutic misconception” . Henderson et al., Clinical Trials and Medical Care: Defining the Therapeutic Misconception, (2007) Clinical Trials and Medical Care: Defining the Therapeutic Misconception. PLoS Med 4(11): e324 doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040324