Do you believe that Merck acted in a socially responsible and ethical manner with regard to Vioxx? Why or why not? In your answer, please address the company’s drug development and testing, marketing and advertising, relationships with government regulators and policymakers, and handling of the recall.
No, Merck didn’t act in a corporate social responsibility in regards to Vioxx. Corporate social responsibility means that a corporation should act in a way that enhances society and its inhabitants and be held accountable for any of its actions that affect people, their communities, and their environment.
Over a five year period from 1999 to 2004 over 139,000 people in the United States has ...view middle of the document...
As of mid-August of 2005, more than 4,200 civil suits have been filed against the company for Vioxx ( Reuters, 2005). For example, the state of Texas has sued Merck for violating its Medicaid fraud law and demands $168 million from the company.
What should or could Merck have done differently, if anything?
It appears that Merck's executives either forgot to follow or chose to ignore George W. Merck's advice when they made decisions regarding Vioxx.
In our free-enterprise system, the basic purpose of a company should be to satisfy its target customers' needs and wants effectively, competitively, ethically, socially responsibly, and profitably. Companies express this idea through different words in order to fit their particular business situations.
What is the best way for society to protect consumers of prescription medicines? Specifically, what are the appropriate roles for pharmaceutical companies, government regulators and policymakers, patients and their physicians, and the court system in assuring the safety and effectiveness of prescription medicines?
Although a successful business must be a profitable one, the corporate behavior of maximizing profit at the expense of ethics and social responsibility is highly objectionable and should be discouraged. The Vioxx recall case is a perfect example.
A business must carefully balance profit and social responsibility. When business executives fail to maintain this balance and seek undeserved or excessive profit, problems will occur. Such problems frequently cause severe damage to both the company and its customers. Tomorrow's most successful and competitive companies will be those that combine a commitment to profitability with an explicit commitment to advancing the public interest.
Protection of the public from these risks typically takes two forms. Before such products can be sold, manufacturers must satisfy the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that they are safe and effective. Tort law private lawsuits brought by injured patients’ serves as a second method of influencing manufacturers' behavior. The threat of lawsuits alleging that a drug or device was defectively designed, defectively manufactured, or accompanied by inadequate warnings which arise under state rather than federal law gives manufacturers an incentive to take all reasonable precautions to ensure that their products are as safe as possible and that all knowable risks are adequately disclosed. Actual lawsuits can provide compensation to the injured and result in a product's removal from the market.
The weight that the Supreme Court gives to this FDA opinion...