Case 6.4: Drug Dilemmas
The cost of new medical drugs seems to be accepted by many people who use them. These pharmaceutical companies increase their profits more and more each year because many people assume that it does cost a lot of money for research and development. Where in reality, they are only spending about 15% of their profit margins on research and development alone. A huge percentage of these drugs are actually tested in other countries where people are more willing to do trials with these drugs because they cannot afford them. Not only are there more people who are more willing to try them, but also there is less regulation and oversight when it comes to testing. Conducting these clinical trials overseas not only saves money, but it also bypasses the requirement of the FDA approval before any human testing can be performed. Using Kant’s theory for determining what actions are considered morally right and wrong, we can look into his Categorical Imperatives. The first CI states, “Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it would become a universal law”. (McPhee 1) The second CI states, “Act in such a way that you always treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never simply as a means, but always at the same time as an end”. (McPhee 1) According to this case, we may now bring up several morally questionable actions that these pharmaceutical companies are doing. Is it okay for these companies to sell medical drugs at such a high cost? Should these pharmaceutical companies have a moral obligation to make drugs available to the country in which they perform research and development? Are these test subjects being exploited and being taken advantage of? Should pharmaceutical companies do their testing overseas? Now that we understand the situation at hand, we may come to believe that the pharmaceutical companies are acting in an immoral way according to the CI's. We can look further in...
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