FROM: Fred Jackson
SUBJECT: Business Ethics
"A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon the world" - Albert Camus
This generation has seen its faith in many of its leading business institutions shattered by scandals. The success of the business community is of serious importance to any society. If corporate scandals continue to erode the viability of our hope for the nation's economic future will be in jeopardy.
Both Toyota and Pfizer have been in the news regarding business ethics. But there are some similar situations to be compared. First, employees at Toyota dealerships witnessed and duplicated sudden acceleration in the company's vehicles several times in the last decade, yet the automaker did not report the findings to regulators. On the other hand Pfizer, the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, was found guilty for the fourth time this decade, of encouraging the off-label prescribing of one of its products (the arthritis pain medication Bextra). While off-label prescribing is a common medical practice, it’s illegal for pharmaceutical companies to encourage it, market products for it, or educate doctors about it. Pfizer did all of these things, mostly in the form of all-expenses paid educational conferences at lavish resorts with attractive amenities, all paid for by the company.
Second, Toyota fought hard to restore its image while vigorously denying allegations that electronic problems could be behind sudden acceleration. Toyota cited data from black box-style recorders in its vehicles implying that drivers could be at fault. Pfizer said in a press release that the report about Bextra is based on information that has not been published in a medical journal or subject to independent scientific review. Pfizer maintains the study is backward-looking and simply reorganizes data about Bextra presented in other settings, grouping samples that were too disparate for... [continues]
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