Philosophy 6: Ethical Issues in Business Midterm Essay
Need or Greed?
New Protocol: How Drug’s Rebirth as Treatment for Cancer Fueled Price Rises Immanuel Kant-Kantian Deontology
John Locke- The Justification of Private Property
Adam Smith-Benefits of the Profit Motive
Milton Friedman- The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits Thesis: An examination of the case study New Protocol: How Drug’s Rebirth as Treatment for Cancer Fueled Price Rises relies heavily on a keen understanding of the social and economic implications of a capitalist system, and once taken into account it is clear that Celgene Corp. is justified in raising prices based on the business market philosophies asserted by Adam Smith, Milton Friedman, Emanuel Kant, and John Locke. Word Count: 1690
Perhaps the most difficult situation in business arises when the indigent desire the product being sold. Political pressure is often put on the company to lower prices in order to accommodate the less fortunate consumer, however, this is in direct conflict with the company’s paramount goal of making the largest profit possible. Issues are increasingly complex given the supply-demand aspects of society and the incentive for production. For these reasons approaches to business that emphasize profit over availability can indeed help society in many ways. Upon the question of ethics one must view the entire market as a whole and the benefits of competition when deciding a fair price. An examination of the case study New Protocol: How Drug’s Rebirth as Treatment for Cancer Fueled Price Rises relies heavily on a keen understanding of the social and economic implications of a capitalist system, and once taken into account it is clear that Celgene Corp. is justified in raising prices based on the business market philosophies asserted by Adam Smith, Milton Friedman, Emanuel Kant, and John Locke. Celgene’s decision to raise prices is complex and though at first glance may appear to be fueled by greed it is in fact a necessary and beneficial step in Celgene’s continued production of the medicine thalidomide along with researching other medical advances. Celgene Corp.’s decision to incrementally raise prices is justified by Adam Smith’s free market philosophy in which he describes competitive production as the main force behind societal development and improvement. Though there has been little affect to the cost of production for thalidomide, the nature of free market production dictated the rise in price. This, according to Smith is a natural element of the free market, “As every individual […] endeavors as much as he can both to employ his capital in the support of domestic industry, and so to direct that industry that its produce may be of the greatest value, every individual necessarily labors to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can” (Donaldson, 167). In this quotation, Smith is explaining how every individual’s personal strive for success, in the form of production, helps to improve society as a whole. If each individual’s ultimate goal is to increase their wealth, and if increased wealth is sought through improved production, then the competition for wealth will undoubtedly result in improved production. Improved production can mean either cheaper manufacturing, resulting in lower costs for the consumer, or a better product, which will also help society. Smith continues on to say that this competition is self-perpetuating and that the profit made off of production is reinvested to further improve manufacturing. Evidence of this can be observed in the Celgene Corp. raising of prices on thalidomide which resulted in, “The ability to […] fund the pharmaceutical industry’s research and development programs, which bring new medicines to patients” (Donaldson, 151). This can be further proven by the fact that Celgene’s R&D department uses almost half of the company’s revenue (Donaldson,...
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