Monitoring Business Ethics in the US Pharmaceutical Industry
Increase in prices of prescription drugs is an issue that affects every citizen regardless of their age, health, and financial status. Due to a weak economy and increased outsourcing, many people are out of jobs. Other workers are also losing their health insurance as companies cut employee benefits in an attempt to remain competitive and reap higher profits for their investors. Pharmaceutical companies thrive on every opportunity to tell the world about their contribution to combating deadly diseases by publishing elaborate Social Responsibility reports written to divert people's attention from the negative publicity criticizing unethical clinical trials and business practices. As the pharmaceutical industry continues to prosper, it chooses to ignore its ethical responsibility of curing people, by going to great lengths to impose higher prices on its products, as well as lobbying for stricter regulations that prevent the importation of competitive brands into the U.S.
In order to properly to evaluate this particular situation, it helps to identify parties that are affected the most which include pharmaceutical companies, their shareholders, and U.S. citizens most of which have double roles as pharmaceutical drug consumers and shareholders of the pharmaceutical companies.
Utilitarian theory which identifies with the concept of "maximizing the overall good" is the best model to use when analyzing policies of a chosen society. However, there are two approaches to this theory: Rule Utilitarianism and Act Utilitarianism and conclusions will vary depending on the approach chosen to deconstruct this situation.
When evaluating actions of the pharmaceutical industry from the Rule Utilitarian point of view, one must consider the fact that U.S. companies are located in a capitalistic society, where basic rights of property protection (including patent rights) take precedence over the right to life.12 U.S. policies in general, are based...