I worked in Pharma for a few years. Placebo is VERY HARD to beat, statistically.
For a drug to be approved in the USA, it has to pass many trials. It can pass drug trials, animal trials and several levels of human trials and still fail to placebo.
Millions of dollars in research can be wasted because placebo is so strong and it’s one of the final tests.
I watched a chiral and similar molecule “Viagra” go through trials (drugs with left or right handed chirality are treated differently). It had a different handedness than Viagra and substituted bits of the molecule.
It reached almost the end, showing effectiveness through it all.
But placebo was ALMOST as effective. It was SO CLOSE they had to stop trials and stop the whole project.
I think placebo was 50% effective and the drug was 53% effective.
It just wasn’t enough to justify treating it like a drug to treat anything.