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Pharmaceutical Industry and Ethica


Pharmaceutical industry is a business aimed at creating, licensing and selling drugs. The industry is full of different ethical issues which need consideration as this sphere is closely related to medical one where each decision is an ethical issue which has at last two different sides. The identification of the ethical issues in the pharmaceutical industry is a complicated process which requires much attention and effort. Sillup and Porthhave conducted a sophisticated research and pointed to the most spread ethical issues in the industry. According to the results, drug pricing, drugs safety and data disclosure are the main ethical issues in the relation to pharmaceutical industry (Sillup and Porthhave 169).

Top Issues in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Drug pricing, drugs safety and data disclosure are considered to be the issues in the pharmaceutical industry as different people take different sides when discussing the problem. For example, it is possible to consider the problem with the price on new drugs. When a new drug appears at the market, the manufacturers have to set high prices as they are to cover the expenses on the production, licensing, etc.

Those who live in the countries with good system of medical assurance can buy the product, others are unable. It is possible to understand consumers’ dissatisfaction with high prices, but the manufactures can be also understood (Hanekamp 54). The publishing of the information about drugs safety on the products and data disclosure issues may be also considered from different sides and depending on the side one takes, the decision made may be considered as either ethical or unethical (Koski 393).

Referencing to the ethical issues and the decisions people should make, it is impossible to dwell upon the ethical rights and wrongs, as there are always two sides of the problem where one is satisfied and another one is not. Referencing to the data disclosure, it should be mentioned that the free access to data offers the pharmaceutical industry high promotion and reduction of costs on ads, but, at the same time, free availability of data may also reduce the company profit and influence of the related spheres which may consider such decision unethical, like medical practitioners (Komesaroff and Kerridge 120).

Ethical Theories

There are a lot of different theories which may be considered within the made decisions, duty-based theory, outcomes-based theory, social responsibility theories, along with economic (stockholder) and socioeconomic (stakeholder) theories. When people have to make decisions in the pharmaceutical industry, they usually base their thinking on one of these theories to make sure that the decision is based on the specific theoretical studies. Having considered the theories and the top decisions in the industry under discussion, it is possible to draw some conclusions. Therefore, making a decision about the drug prices the company bases its opinion on the economic (stockholder) and socioeconomic (stakeholder) theories.

Duty-based and outcomes-based theory is the focus for the decisions which should be made in the drugs’ safety sphere. The issues related to the data disclosure are mostly based on the social responsibility theories. But, the provided division is considered to be too strong and when pharmaceutical companies have to make a decision devoted to ethical issue, they usually apply several theories.

Thus, it may be concluded that ethical decisions made in the pharmaceutical industry are moistly based on a number of different theories. It is also important to understand that there is neither right nor wrong decision as ethical issues have no correct answers.

Works Cited

Hanekamp, Gerd. Business ethics of innovation. New York: Springer, 2007. Print.

Komesaroff, Paul A. and Ian H. Kerridge. “Ethical issues concerning the relationships between medical practitioners and the pharmaceutical industry.” MJA 176(2002): 118-121. Print.

Koski, Edward Greg. “Renegotiating the Grand Bargain: Balancing prices, profit, people and principles.” Ethics and the pharmaceutical industry. Eds. Michael A. Santoro and Thomas M. Gorrie. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. 393-403. Print.

Sillup, George P. and Stephen J. Porth. “Ethical issues in the pharmaceutical industry: an analysis of US newspapers.” International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing 2.3 (2008): 163-180. Print.

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