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Case Study: Drug Corporations

Free «Case Study: Drug Corporations» Essay Sample

The drugs corporations in America make huge profits from the sale of medications at extremely high prices. Ironically, these companies do not invent new kinds of drugs, as it appears to the public eyes. Most of the drugs that appear on the market are a rebranding of existing ones to look new to the consumers. Only few small companies develop innovative kinds of drugs. FDA approves the medications even if they are not better than the existing ones. In fact, they are not being tested under the same conditions and in the same doses as the drugs already on the market.

Strangely, the pharmaceutical companies developing new drugs do not conduct experimentations in the United States because there are bureaucracies and experimental laws which hinder this process. Fulfilling all demands would cost these corporations a lot of money. Therefore, they choose to do their experimentations in developing countries with not so many juridical rules and regulations. Sadly enough, but the fact is that these companies do not worry whether the experiments are successful or not. Moreover, they do not offer any form of guarantee or compensation if there is something wrong with the test. However, when it succeeds, they go back to the United States of America to their large market and forget even to make the medication available in the test regions. They seem to have neither moral nor ethical responsibility towards their experiment subjects after the good fortune.

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The most important ethical conflict in this case study is the lack of concern for the experiment subjects after its success. In rare cases, the drugs are available for the nations of those developing countries where the tests are conducted. However, they are affordable to a small percentage of the rich people. The experiment subjects are left without any hope after withdrawal of the drug to the US market. The big companies argue that those developing nations do not have an efficient market for selling the medicine. If this is the case, the rights of the volunteers who made the experiment a success are not counted. The dilemma lies in the tough economy and the ethical responsibility of the pharmaceutical companies towards the experiment subjects and their nations.

The drug companies seem to have taken the utilitarianism approach in solving the ethical conflict in the discussed case. The Utilitarianism theory focuses on the ultimate pleasure. (Vardy 526). Taking into account the economic situations and the nature of the companies producing medications, the solution that brings the ultimate pleasure is selling medicine in the United States and offering it to the experiment nation only if it is convenient for the company. The pharmaceutical corporations are profit making businesses, and their main aim is to maximize the benefits they have. Therefore, above every other consideration, they focus on ventures which will increase their profit margin. It is true that every business has an ethical responsibility towards the society, but in reality, for some businesses it comes after the profit making objective. If the drugs were accessible for the nations of the experiment, it would result in satisfaction or happiness of more people. However, such solution is economically impractical. Hence, the practical decision for the drug corporations is selling the medicine in the regions where they already have structures and will receive the desired profits.


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The consequential principle of utilitarianism allows the pharmaceutical companies to sell the drugs in the countries they want, since the no-moral benefit of it, brings advantages to them. The no-moral act principle argues that the morality of an act results from its consequences. It is true that the economy is tough, but it is also accurate that because of the volunteers and the experiment nations, the drug companies can complete their researchers and develop medicine at very low costs. However, for these corporations, the profits they get from selling the medicaments for the rich who can afford them is the primary goal which results in the ultimate pleasure (Vardy 528).

As for me, I would resolve this ethical conflict through making efforts to ensure that all experiment subjects get the drugs at subsidized prices or for free. I would also endeavor to make the drugs available for the poor representatives of the nations of the experiment at low prices affordable to the majority. As a matter of fact, there are two ways of availing the drugs in experiment areas and subjects. First, the pharmaceutical companies should decide to sell the drugs at prices directly proportional to the cost of developing the medicine as well as sell the same medications at high prices in the United States. Secondly, the corporations need to sponsor the provision of the drugs through the resources they saved by producing the medications in developing countries.

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In considering this judgment, I apply the theory of ethics of duty. It means I have a moral duty towards the subjects and their nations. Thus, to avail drugs for them is the right thing to do (Schaffer 415). It may be impossible to give the access to the medicine in all the developing nations, but it is a moral responsibility to make the drugs available for the experiment nations. (Schaffer 408). The theory of ethical duty also emphasizes the value of each individual. Therefore, the people in the developing countries and those in the United States have equal importance according to the above-mentioned theory. In that case, it is inevitable to make the drugs available to all, both the rich and the poor.

In the fast changing work environment, the need to make sensational ethical decisions is on the rise. In most cases, a person is forced to take decisions that favor either the ethical responsibility or the profitable business. However, both resolutions entail some problems, which cannot be ignored. In my career, I would use the ethics of duty principles to fulfill moral responsibilities, which are more complex. I would use utilitarianism principles in solving simpler and straightforward situations.

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