Ethical Values of Pharmaceutical Companies

Ethical Values of Pharmaceutical Companies.

Ethical Values of Pharmaceutical Companies

  1. Are drug companies that test experimental drugs in foreign countries acting ethically?

The act of the companies that are manufacturing drugs doing the drug test in other foreign countries it is unethical. Most of the companies that are manufacturing drugs in the United States they tend to test their drugs in foreign countries where the drugs and ethical laws are not tough. Since there are few cases of a certainty endemic disease, some of the companies situated in U.S.A discovers the drugs and do their test in such countries. In most cases, take advantage of a miserable patient who is in need of drugs to cure them. Most of the countries, which fall into the trap of these cartels of drug the developing countries with a lot of political instability and illiteracy. There are some of the ethics that the company that is testing the drug should follow to avoid endangering the life of the study population. Since most of them fear the repercussion of testing substandard products that could harm their study population, hence they opt for sites where they could do their research without anybody noting or the authority discovering their inhumane tactic.

A good example given by Braithwaite (2013), concerning Pfizer pharmaceutical company involved in the scandal of killing five children and disabling many other due to its test of substandard drug known as trovafloxacin in Nigeria. The company obtained the permit to do the research in Nigeria in the year 1996. At this time the meningitis was endemic in Nigeria hence given them good study site to test new invented substandard drug of curing meningitis. It could have earned them a lot of profit if the research succeeded. They bribed the drug ethic regulation body in Nigeria to obtain a permit, and they did the research to the innocent children who were desperately in of any assistance. The research turn otherwise but the company was not liable to its action because it had the mandate to do the research from the government of Nigeria.

There are many ethical theories that could condemn these acts of Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies in the United States. According to Hodgson (1967), Utilitarianism theory focusses on the general happiness and pleasure to all people in the world. It condemns that thing that harms and brings unhappiness to others. The act of pharmaceutical company doing the test and risking the life of another citizen in the foreign country is unethical because it brings unhappiness to the other countries after discovering the harm of the test. The country that is doing the research in the foreign country is unethical because they cause unhappy to people that belong to that country.

  1. Is American industry at too much risk of lawsuits to remain competitive? Should companies trying to develop drugs be given immunity from lawsuits?

American industry is at risk of a lawsuit if they want to remain competitive in most of the world. Most of the countries and international bodies have strengthened their judicial bodies, so united state industries are at risk of a lawsuit. The United States is the most industrialized country in the world with the largest supply of pharmaceutical in almost all of the countries in the world. In these cases, it is at risk of the lawsuit from any place of the world due to the danger that may arise from their massive invented drugs distributed to other places and the region of the world. If the American industry needs to remain competitive, it should concentrate on its motive of innovation in the pharmaceutical industry so that it is not overtaken by the upcoming industries in Asia. Most of the newly discovered drugs have some side effect, thus placing most of the American industry at the risk of a lawsuit. Some of the drugs may have a very serious side effect that may even lead to death and palliation. Companies should not be given the immunity of lawsuit. They should be liable for any danger that happens as a result of their drug being used by other people. Although the companies that are producing drugs may not have the intention of killing others people in the foreign countries, they may not be exempted from facing the law to ensure the credibility of United States. Using rule-Utilitarianism theory the American industries are at risk of a lawsuit, and the industries that are developing medicine are not immune from lawsuit. If America industries need to be competitive all over the world, they should be liable for their action so that they maintain a positive image by embracing virtues such as courage, honesty, abstinence, and justice and ensure fairness to all (Hill, Stephens & Smith, 2003).

  1. Is it ethical for companies to decline to sell a useful drug because they can make more money marketing drugs that are more widely needed? Is it ethical for companies to decline to sell a useful drug in a foreign country because they can make more money marketing the drug elsewhere?

It is hard to determine whether it is ethical or not ethical for the company to decline to sell the drug, which is useful to the customer, and opt for the one that is widely needed. On the other hand, it is also difficult to determine whether it is ethical for the company stopping supplying the drug from a foreign country and opt for another that it could gain more money. Both of this two statement aligns at the conflict between customers’ needs and the company objective. For the company to maintain a good name in the market should ensure it meets all the customers’ needs irrespective they are profitable or not. For the company to meet its objectives of competitiveness, it must venture in investment that brings more profit. Individualism theory can solve the conflict between customers’ needs and the company objectives. The theory aims at encouraging the enterprises to expand by increasing the amount of their investment. The theory does not emphasize on the ethical perspective of the customer needs. It aims in the maximization of the profit the company gains from the investment. The theory state there is no need for the company to rely on making good name to customers who are not adding any value to the economic status of the company (Spinello, 1992). Since the company aims in making profit, its action is not unethical according to individualism ethical theory. On the other hand, Utilitarianism theory rejects the ethics in the company action of letting other to suffer for the aim of making a profit. So according to Utilitarianism theory the company is unethical for the action of withdrawing medicine and decline to sell useful medicine because of the profitable venture.

  1. Do companies have an ethical obligation to make drugs available in developing countries at little or no cost?

The company may or may not have an ethical obligation of making the drug available at a little cost or no cost in the foreign country. Considering most of the household in developing countries are poor and cannot be able to afford decent health care. Most of the money they have they use them for basic need which in sometimes it is not enough. It will be a moral obligation to the company to provide the free drugs or less costly medicine to the community. On the other hand, criminal may take advantage of the opportunity of the cheap drug. They may find a way of smuggling these drugs to other places that are not intended or transforming them to other unintended use. The misuse of the drug may change the company obligation to be unethical. Utilitarianism theory may fail to determine if the company has a moral obligation or not when supplying free drugs. The theory aim on the happiness and pleasure to everyone (Hodgson, 1967). The act of company supplying drugs to poor people in developing countries is ethical, but it becomes unethical when criminal use those cheap drugs to harm others so at the end there is no social happiness as indicated by Utilitarianism theory.





Braithwaite, J. (2013). Corporate Crime in the Pharmaceutical Industry (Routledge Revivals). Routledge.

Hill, R. P., Stephens, D., & Smith, I. (2003). Corporate social responsibility: An examination of individual firm behavior. Business and Society Review, 108(3), 339-364.

Hodgson, D. H. (1967). Consequences of Utilitarianism: A study in normative ethics and legal theory. Arlington, Clarendon.

Spinello, R. A. (1992). Ethics, pricing and the pharmaceutical industry. Journal of Business Ethics, 11(8), 617-626.

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Ethical Values of Pharmaceutical Companies