Pharmaceuticals (Merck)

Week 5 – Final Project

Argumentative Essay  (Pharmaceuticals (Merck))

In this written assignment, you will write a complete argumentative essay as described in Sections 9.1 and 9.2 of With Good Reason: A Guide to Critical Thinking (Foster, Hardy, & Zúñiga y Postigo, 2015). This essay will include a revised and polished version of your Week 3 Assignment, an objection to your thesis, a rebuttal, and concluding remarks.

Your assignment should include the following:
Your revision should represent a substantial edit of your work that fully incorporates feedback from your professor and goes well beyond correcting any grammatical or APA errors.

An introduction. This is the “Problem” portion of the essay that is covered in Section 9.1: The Argumentative Essay (Hardy, Foster, & Zúñiga y Postigo, 2015). This should be an improved version of the introduction in your initial post, revised on the basis of your professor’s feedback and additional research. In this introduction you will need to (a) identify the specific issue or problem that you want to address and give an impartial presentation of the controversy, (b) articulate briefly the characteristics of the economic system that serves as the setting for the business, and (c) examine the laws that affect the operations of the business. The introduction should be one paragraph of around 200 words in length.

A thesis. Start a new paragraph with a precise and clear sentence in which you state your moral position with regard to the case that you presented in your first paragraph. This is known as stating your thesis. (See the “Thesis” passage in “The Argumentative Essay” in Hardy, Foster, & Zúñiga y Postigo, 2015). The thesis you state here should be an improved version of the thesis in your initial post in the discussion, revised on the basis of your professor’s feedback and your reading of “The Argumentative Essay” indicated above.

A thesis is only one sentence, so do not write a series of sentences, or a complex sentence with explanatory clauses (e.g., “because…” or “since…” or “according to Dr. Mary Expert, an economist with the Bureau of Labor statistics…”, or “a law that was ratified with 80% votes in favor…”). An example of a precise and clear thesis is this: “Factory farms are not morally justifiable” or, of course, the opposite point of view: “Factory farms are morally justifiable.” Keep in mind that your thesis in this assignment will be the basis for the argumentative essay of the Week 5 written assignment, so take your time when formulating this thesis.

Ethical theory. In the same second paragraph as the thesis statement, identify the ethical theory that supports your moral position. You may choose from utilitarianism, duty ethics, or virtue ethics. Present the characteristics of the ethical theory in a broad sketch, and include citations and references in APA form. Then, apply your chosen ethical theory by explaining how it lends itself to the moral position that you are defending.

Two premises. Present at least two reasons in support of your thesis and these should be presented in the form of a claim. These are called premises. Articulate each premise in one clear and grammatically correct sentence. Review Section 9.1 of With Good Reason: A Guide to Critical Thinking (Foster, Hardy, and Zúñiga y Postigo, 2015). Start a new paragraph for each.

In the rest of the paragraph, support your premise by presenting an analysis of how the ethical theory lends itself to the best solution. This analysis includes articulating the characteristics(s) of the economic system at work that support the claims in your premises. It also includes examining the effects of the law(s) at work that also support the claims in your premises.

Comparative analysis. In the final paragraph, analyze how this application lends itself to a solution that is superior to that offered by one of the ethical theories that you did not select. To do this, provide a clear statement describing the moral solution offered by this other theory. For example, if you chose utilitarianism to apply to your case, then you can choose from either virtue ethics or deontology for your comparative analysis. Explain in no more than three sentences what moral solution would result from the application of this other ethical theory. See the “Sample Case Analysis” for an illustration of how this would look like. Finally, analyze the strengths of the moral solution presented by your chosen ethical theory in ways that demonstrate how it is superior to the moral solution offered by the other ethical theory.

The strongest possible objection to your thesis. After the final paragraph of your, start a new paragraph that introduces the strongest possible objection to your thesis. The considerations for this are detailed in Section 9.2 of With Good Reason: A Guide to Critical Thinking (Hardy, Foster, & Zúñiga y Postigo, 2015). Make sure to employ the appropriate language to introduce the objection, such as “some may object to my thesis as follows” or “according to [so and so] the thesis presented here fails to account for X” [whatever he or she finds problematic]. You can find other language to do this, of course, but the key point here is to make sure that you indicate that someone else is speaking when presenting this objection.

It is also important to remember that you do research to discover good objections and not merely objections that are weak and thus easily rebutted. Look for peer-reviewed journal articles in the, full-text articles in Google Scholar, or articles in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Present the opposing position fairly and in detail. This may take more than one paragraph.

A rebuttal. This is a refutation of the objection that you have just presented. Start this in a new paragraph following the objection paragraph(s). Once again, follow the indications of Section 9.2 of With Good Reason: A Guide to Critical Thinking (Hardy, Foster, & Zúñiga y Postigo, 2015). You may point out an error in the objection. Or you may show that, while it is an important objection, it does not apply squarely to your argument, or does not account for facts that make it irrelevant. Above all, make sure to maintain philosophical decorum in your rebuttal. Toward this end, you should apply the principles of charity and of accuracy, first introduced in the Week 1 course material. See “Confronting Disagreement” in Section 9.4 of With Good Reason: A Guide to Critical Thinking (Hardy, Foster, & Zúñiga y Postigo, 2015).

Closing remarks. End your argumentative essay with a paragraph of closing remarks. Provide some reflections of what you have attempted to achieve by means of your essay. You could, for example, explain how your essay sheds light on the broader controversy that it addresses. Or you could point out how your essay addresses a frequently ignored point or the unpopular side in the controversy. You could also reflect on the related matters in the broader controversy that would be useful to examine by others. Do not merely summarize what you have done in the body of your essay, and do not add new information here that would support or contradict your essay since the body of your essay should have addressed all the relevant points. See “Closing Your Essay” in Section 9.2 of With Good Reason: A Guide to Critical Thinking (Hardy, Foster, & Zúñiga y Postigo (2015).

Requirements for your Assignment:

  • Your assignment should be between 1500 to 1700 words in length, excluding the cover and references pages.
  • You should draw from the sources provided in your chosen case category in the discussion this week.
  • Also refer to Section 9.1: The Argumentative Essay and the introduction to Section 9.2: Strengthening the Argumentative Essay (intro only for the latter) from Hardy, J., Foster, C., & Zúñiga y Postigo, G. (2015).
  • Your examination should be both thorough and succinct. This is a combination that demands time and thought, so give yourself sufficient time to draft and revise.
  • Your assignment should include citations, as well as a list of references. Both must be in APA form.
  • Your references should include at least two scholarly sources, at least four peer-reviewed articles. These references should be drawn from Google Scholar, or the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. No Wikipedia articles and the like should be included in the references, nor employed to inform your paper.

One Required Reference from book on subject

 

Fieser, J. (2015). Introduction to business ethics [Electronic version]. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/

 

Pharmaceutical Products

Initially, it would seem strange to raise moral questions about pharmaceutical companies because, for many of us, our very lives depend upon their products. But just as environmentalists see oil companies as being in collusion with politicians, covering up scandals, and hiding the true cost of burning fossil fuels, natural health advocates similarly complain of the pharmaceutical industry’s power, influence, and unethical activities. For one, pharmaceutical companies are under increasing criticism for the effects that their drugs have, both on people and on the environment (Desai, 2007). In fact, research has shown that more than 100,000 deaths are caused by drug reactions each year in the United States (Null, 2010). This implies that an investment in pharmaceuticals could cause more suffering than an investment in an armaments company. Drug companies are also frequently caught deceiving the public; they paid $3.1 billion through the U.S. Justice Department for fraud and false claims in 2010 (Harris & Wilson, 2010).

Defenders of pharmaceutical companies argue that the intention behind investing in drugs is that they will be used to help people. A right intention holds a good claim for many ethicists—as long as the investor intended to do the right thing, and the right thing is something that people would agree on as being right, then the investor cannot be in the wrong. But the response from other ethicists is simple: The road to hell is paved with good intentions. That is, it is not sufficient for people to merely claim that they were trying to do the right thing; they actually need to do the right thing, and the right thing involves not just possessing a good intent but also generating benefits through the action.

Defenders of pharmaceutical companies also insist that drugs save the lives of thousands of people each day around the world, and for the most part that is true. To relieve suffering and to help save lives is noble. But, according to critics, the same argument could be made for the oil industry: Their noble aim is to help transport people from place to place efficiently, but the side effect is pollution. The presence of a good does not necessarily cancel out the presence of an evil.

 

What’s in a pill? Some ethical investors avoid putting money into pharmaceutical companies that they believe regularly ignore ethical standards by selling products that have not been thoroughly tested, by not being explicit concerning the potential side-effects that products may cause, or by experimenting on vulnerable sections of the population.

Critics of pharmaceutical companies also see the size and stature of the corporations as a threat to health and security: Indeed, some speak of the military-industrial-pharmaceutical complex that works to secure huge contracts from the government, including experimental drugs in the military and unethical experiments on children and minority citizens in the United States and abroad (Veracity, 2006). For example:

Jacklyn Hoerger was employed to treat HIV-positive children in a New York children’s home. She was not informed that the children were being given a secret and experimental drug. She was also told that if the children showed any serious health effects, this was because of their HIV infection. Moreover, if she or any other caregiver tried to take the children off the drugs, social work authorities threatened, the children would be taken away. This case, along with others, has caused international concern at the way pharmaceutical companies use children and minority citizens for experimentation.

In 2005 the American Chemical Society (funded by pharmaceutical companies) proposed recording and measuring the short-term effects on children of inhaling, ingesting, and absorbing household chemicals—by recruiting parents and ­children from a poor, predominantly Black neighborhood in Duval County, Flo­rida, for the study. Consumer activist groups protested until the experiment was dropped (“EPA & Chemical Industry,” n.d.).

Pharmaceutical companies’ intention is also to make money, and not necessarily to pursue science and health: This sometimes comes as a shock to scientists who work for the medical and pharmaceutical industries. One pharmaceutical sales representative turned health activist and recipient of a human rights award commented that she felt used and that her participation in the company she had worked for had been put toward harming people: “I had been used in the game, I literally was the one at the front lines, harm­ing people—unintentionally—but I was responsible, and I carry a burden for that now.” The sales representative became a whistleblower in the industry, ­saying that she believed she had a moral obligation to educate others on the use of harmful pharmaceutical drugs (Luisa, 2011).

Medical and pharmaceutical-research institutions and journals have been criticized for not being scientific, including recently by the prestigious BMJ, and for instead focusing on expanding profits regardless of side effects in the population. The published literature has often overestimated drug efficacy and not given enough information to clients to consider the risks (Chan, 2012). Evidence from whistleblowers at the large pharmaceutical companies has given health activists a reason to shun investing in pharmaceutical companies:

A Federal court awarded whistleblower James Marchese $1.6 million for advising Federal prosecutors that Cell Therapeutics was engaged in illegally promoting unapproved uses of the cancer drug Trisenox (Meier, 2007).

The multinational pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline was fined $750 million for knowingly selling tainted drugs. Whistleblower Cheryl Eckard had been fired after warning the company of problems with its plant in Puerto Rico, but still the company went on to sell the drugs (Harris & Wilson, 2010).

Other ethical issues arise for those who oppose abortion out of conscience and religious beliefs and would prefer not to invest in pharmaceutical companies that are linked to contraceptive pills and abortion drugs or that use aborted fetal tissue to produce vaccines (Catholic News Agency, 2009; McGovern, n.d.). Similarly, campaigners for alternative medicine have noted the connections between the pharmaceutical industry and legal attempts to outlaw a variety of complementary health products, ranging from vitamin supplements and herbs to raw milk (Adams, 2011).

Some pharmaceutical products do wonders: Painkillers and antibiotics have certainly made pain and disease more containable. But pharmaceutical companies’ quest to make money sometimes overrides their good intentions.

 

Description:

Introduction

Total: 2.00

Distinguished – Provides a clear introduction that identifies the business case and the specific moral problem being addressed.  The introduction is impartial and articulates the economic system(s) and laws that affect the operations of the business.

Proficient – Provides an introduction that identifies the business case and the specific moral problem being addressed.  The introduction is somewhat impartial and/or mostly articulates the economic system(s) and laws that affect the operations of the business.  The introduction is somewhat unclear.

Basic – Provides a limited introduction to the business case and the specific moral problem being addressed.  The introduction is somewhat biased and minimally articulates the economic system(s) and laws that affect the operations of the business.  The introduction is unclear.

Below Expectations – Attempts to provide an introduction to the business case and the specific moral problem being addressed; however, the introduction is biased and/or does not articulate the economic system(s) and laws that affect the operations of the business.  The introduction is significantly unclear.

Non-Performance – The introduction is either nonexistent or lacks the components described in the assignment instructions.

 

Thesis and Ethical Theory

Total: 4.00

Distinguished – Presents a thesis statement that clearly and concisely describes the moral position being defended.   Identifies an ethical theory, and clearly and comprehensively explains how the characteristics of the ethical theory support the thesis.

Proficient – Presents a thesis statement that describes the moral position being defended. The thesis is somewhat unclear or vague.  Identifies an ethical theory, and explains how the characteristics of the ethical theory support the thesis.  The explanation is somewhat unclear.

Basic – Presents a thesis statement that partially describes the moral position being defended.  The thesis is unclear and/or vague. Identifies an ethical theory and minimally explains how the characteristics of the ethical theory support the thesis.  The explanation is unclear.

Below Expectations – Attempts to present a thesis statement that describes the moral position being defended; however, the thesis is significantly unclear and/or vague, does not identify an ethical theory, and does not explain how the characteristics of the ethical theory support thesis.  The explanation is significantly unclear.

Non-Performance – The thesis and ethical theory are either nonexistent or lack the components described in the assignment instructions.

 

Two Premises

Total: 4.00

Distinguished – Presents two clear and concise premises that directly support the thesis.   Comprehensively discusses the ethical theory and the economic system(s) and laws that affect the operations of the business. Each premise is presented in its own paragraph.

Proficient – Presents two premises that directly support the thesis.   Discusses the ethical theory and the economic system(s) and laws that affect the operations of the business.   Each premise is presented in its own paragraph. The discussion is slightly underdeveloped.

Basic – Presents two premises that somewhat support the thesis.   Minimally discusses the ethical theory or the economic system(s) and laws that affect the operations of the business.  Each premise is presented in its own paragraph. The discussion is underdeveloped.

Below Expectations – Attempts to presents two premises, however, the premises are vague and/or do not support the thesis. Attempts to discuss the ethical theory and the economic system(s) and laws that affect the operations of the business, however, the discussion is significantly underdeveloped. The premises are not presented in separate paragraphs, and/or are not significantly distinct.

Non-Performance – The two premises are either nonexistent or lack the components described in the assignment instructions.

 

Application Analysis

Total: 2.00

Distinguished – Provides a clear and comprehensive analysis that demonstrates how the chosen ethical theory supports the best moral solution to the business problem.  The analysis effectively compares the moral solutions offered by two ethical theories.

Proficient – Provides an analysis that demonstrates how the chosen ethical theory supports the best moral solution to the business problem.  The analysis compares the moral solutions offered by two ethical theories.  The analysis is somewhat inaccurate.

Basic – Provides an analysis that somewhat demonstrates how the chosen ethical theory supports the best moral solution to the business problem.  The analysis minimally compares the moral solutions offered by two ethical theories.  The analysis is unclear or inaccurate.

Below Expectations – Attempts to provide an analysis that demonstrates how the chosen ethical theory supports the best moral solution to the business problem. However, the analysis is unclear and/or does not compare the moral solutions offered by two ethical theories.

Non-Performance – The analysis is either nonexistent or lacks the components described in the assignment instructions.

 

Applied Ethics: Understanding Different Ethical Perspectives/Concepts

Total: 0.50

Distinguished – States and describes the theory and accurately explains the details of the theory used.

Proficient – States and describes the theory and explain the details of the theory, but with some inaccuracies.

Basic – States and describes the major theory used.

Below Expectations – Only states the major theory used.

Non-Performance – The assignment is either nonexistent or lacks the components described in the instructions.

 

Critical Thinking: Explanation of Issues

Total: 0.50

Distinguished – Clearly and comprehensively explains the issue to be considered, delivering all relevant information necessary for a full understanding.

Proficient – Clearly explains the issue to be considered, delivering enough relevant information for an adequate understanding.

Basic – Briefly explains the issue to be considered, delivering minimal information for a basic understanding.

Below Expectations – Briefly explains the issue to be considered, but may not deliver additional information necessary for a basic understanding.

Non-Performance – The assignment is either nonexistent or lacks the components described in the instructions.

 

Case Analysis Revision

Total: 2.00

Distinguished – Provides a thorough revision of the case analysis. The revision meets or exceeds the requirements described in the assignment instructions and incorporates all feedback from the instructor.

Proficient – Provides a revision of the case analysis.  The revision meets most of the requirements described in the assignment instructions and mostly incorporates feedback from the instructor.

Basic – Provides a revision of the case analysis.  The revision meets some of the requirements described in the assignment instructions and somewhat incorporates feedback from the instructor.

Below Expectations – Attempts to provide a revision of the case analysis, however, the revision does not meet the requirements described in the assignment instructions and minimally incorporates feedback from the instructor.

Non-Performance – The revision of the case analysis paragraphs is either nonexistent or lacks the components described in the assignment instructions.

 

Objection to Thesis

Total: 6.00

Distinguished – Raises the strongest   objection to the thesis presented in the revised case analysis. The objection is strongly grounded in research and logical reasoning.

Proficient – Raises a plausible objection to the thesis presented in the revised case analysis. The objection is mostly grounded in research and logical reasoning.

Basic – Raises an objection to the thesis presented in the revised case analysis. The objection is somewhat grounded in research and logical reasoning.

Below Expectations – Attempts to raise an objection to the thesis presented in the revised case analysis. The objection is minimally grounded in research and logical reasoning.

Non-Performance – The objection to the thesis is either nonexistent or lacks the components described in the assignment instructions.

 

Rebuttal

Total: 6.00

Distinguished – Provides a strong, thorough rebuttal to the objection. The rebuttal effectively demonstrates that the thesis can withstand the objection and applies the principles of charity and accuracy.

Proficient – Provides a rebuttal to the objection. The rebuttal mostly demonstrates that the thesis can withstand the objection and mostly applies the principles of charity and accuracy.

Basic – Provides a  limited rebuttal to the objection. The rebuttal somewhat demonstrates that the thesis can withstand the objection and somewhat applies the principles of charity and accuracy.

Below Expectations – Attempts to provide a rebuttal to the objection; however, the rebuttal minimally demonstrates that the thesis can withstand the objection and does not apply the principles of charity and accuracy.

Non-Performance – The rebuttal is either nonexistent or lacks the components described in the assignment instructions.

 

Closing Remarks

Total: 2.00

Distinguished – Provides clear and concise closing remarks that comprehensively summarize the essay. The remarks consider the broader controversy and/or further research that could offer additional insight into the moral solution of the business problem.

Proficient – Provides closing remarks that summarize the essay. The remarks mostly consider the broader controversy and/or further research that could offer additional insight into the moral solution of the business problem. The closing remarks are somewhat unclear.

Basic – Provides closing remarks that minimally summarizes the essay. The remarks minimally consider the broader controversy and/or further research that could offer additional insight into the moral solution of the business problems. The closing remarks are unclear and/or vague.

Below Expectations – Attempts to provide closing remarks that summarize the essay, however, the remarks do not consider the broader controversy and/or further research that could offer additional insight into the moral solution of the business problem. The closing remarks are unclear and vague.

Non-Performance – The closing remarks are either nonexistent or lack the components described in the assignment instructions.

 

Applied Ethics: Evaluation of Different Ethical Perspectives/Concepts

Total: 0.50

Distinguished – States a position and effectively addresses each oppositional viewpoints.

Proficient – States a position and addresses the oppositional viewpoints.

Basic – States a position and the oppositional viewpoints, but does not address them sufficiently.

Below Expectations – States a position but does not identify the oppositional viewpoints.

Non-Performance – The assignment is either nonexistent or lacks the components described in the instructions.

Critical Thinking: Explanation of Issues

Total: 0.50

Distinguished – Clearly and comprehensively explains the issue to be considered, delivering all relevant information necessary for a full understanding.

Proficient – Clearly explains the issue to be considered, delivering enough relevant information for an adequate understanding.

Basic – Briefly explains the issue to be considered, delivering minimal information for a basic understanding.

Below Expectations – Briefly explains the issue to be considered, but may not deliver additional information necessary for a basic understanding.

Non-Performance – The assignment is either nonexistent or lacks the components described in the instructions.

 

Critical Thinking: Conclusions and Related Outcomes

Total: 0.50

Distinguished – Conclusions and related outcomes are logical and clearly reflect an informed evaluation and the ability to place evidence and perspectives discussed in priority order.

Proficient – Conclusions and related outcomes are logical and reflect an informed evaluation and the ability to place evidence and perspectives discussed in priority order.

Basic – Conclusions and related outcomes are identified and minimally reflect an informed evaluation and the ability to place evidence and perspectives discussed in priority order.

Below Expectations – Conclusions and related outcomes are not logical or reflective of an informed evaluation and the ability to place evidence and perspectives discussed in priority order.

Non-Performance – The assignment is either nonexistent or lacks the components described in the instructions.

 

Written Communication: Context of and Purpose for Writing

Total: 0.50

Distinguished – Demonstrates methodical application of organization and presentation of content. The purpose of the writing is evident and easy to understand. Summaries, quotes, and/or paraphrases fit naturally into the sentences and paragraphs. Paper flows smoothly.

Proficient – Demonstrates sufficient application of organization and presentation of content. The purpose of the writing is, for the most part, clear and easy to understand. There are some problems with the blending of summaries, paraphrases, and quotes. Paper flows somewhat smoothly.

Basic – Demonstrates a limited understanding of organization and presentation of content in written work. The purpose of the writing is somewhat evident but may not be integrated throughout the assignment. There are many problems with the blending of summaries, paraphrases, and quotes. Paper does not flow smoothly in all sections.

Below Expectations – Organization and presentation of content are extremely limited. The purpose of the writing is unclear. There is little or no blending of summaries, paraphrases, and quotes. Paper does not flow smoothly when read.

Non-Performance – The assignment is either nonexistent or lacks the components described in the instructions.

 

Written Communication: Control of Syntax and Mechanics

Total: 0.50

Distinguished – Displays meticulous comprehension and organization of syntax and mechanics, such as spelling and grammar. Written work contains no errors and is very easy to understand.

Proficient – Displays comprehension and organization of syntax and mechanics, such as spelling and grammar. Written work contains only a few minor errors and is mostly easy to understand.

Basic – Displays basic comprehension of syntax and mechanics, such as spelling and grammar. Written work contains a few errors which may slightly distract the reader.

Below Expectations – Fails to display basic comprehension of syntax or mechanics, such as spelling and grammar. Written work contains major errors which distract the reader.

Non-Performance – The assignment is either nonexistent or lacks the components described in the instructions.

 

Written Communication: APA Formatting

Total: 0.65

Distinguished – Accurately uses APA formatting consistently throughout the paper, title page, and reference page.

Proficient – Exhibits APA formatting throughout the paper. However, layout contains a few minor errors.

Basic – Exhibits limited knowledge of APA formatting throughout the paper. However, layout does not meet all APA requirements.

Below Expectations – Fails to exhibit basic knowledge of APA formatting. There are frequent errors, making the layout difficult to distinguish as APA.

Non-Performance – The assignment is either nonexistent or lacks the components described in the instructions.

 

Written Communication: Word Requirement

Total: 0.68

Distinguished – The length of the paper is equivalent to the required number of words.

Proficient – The length of the paper is nearly equivalent to the required number of words.

Basic – The length of the paper is equivalent to at least three quarters of the required number of words.

Below Expectations – The length of the paper is equivalent to at least one half of the required number of words.

Non-Performance – The assignment is either nonexistent or lacks the components described in the instructions.

 

Written Communication: Resource Requirement

Total: 0.67

Distinguished – Uses more than the required number of scholarly sources, providing compelling evidence to support ideas. All sources on the reference page are used and cited correctly within the body of the assignment.

Proficient – Uses the required number of scholarly sources to support ideas. All sources on the reference page are used and cited correctly within the body of the assignment.

Basic – Uses less than the required number of sources to support ideas. Some sources may not be scholarly. Most sources on the reference page are used within the body of the assignment. Citations may not be formatted correctly.

Below Expectations – Uses an inadequate number of sources that provide little or no support for ideas. Sources used may not be scholarly. Most sources on the reference page are not used within the body of the assignment. Citations are not formatted correctly.

Non-Performance – The assignment is either nonexistent or lacks the components described in the instructions.

 

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