Deontological Ethical Analysis of Direct-to-Consumer Pharmaceutical Marketing

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Deontological Ethical Analysis of Direct-to-Consumer Pharmaceutical Marketing

In Deontological ethics, morality of an action is based upon the particular action’s adherence to moral laws independent of their consequences (DeGeorge 62). Direct-to-consumer marketing of pharmaceuticals has had heated debate with logical arguments from those for, and for those against allowing such practices to exist. I do not believe the marketing of the prescription medication to be solely unethical but more of as a shade of grey in-between ethical and unethical moral standards dependent upon the actions of the individual pharmaceutical companies. Advertising to the general public can be ethical if the medication truly benefits those in society because of the ability to disseminate information quickly, reaching the widest audience, but it could also present a danger to an uniformed public if not careful. Kantian theory states that we should consider humanity with respect, “Act so that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of another, always as an end and never as a means only.” (DeGeorge 66). Some argue that it is unethical to have direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical marketing of prescription medicine because it does not truly consider the well being of the consumer, but rather it uses the consumer as a means to making profits. While I do agree with that opinion to a certain degree I do not believe it to be the whole truth. Undoubtedly pharmaceutical companies are, a for profit industry and their goal is to make money, but if in the pursuit to make money they do find a drug to better society then we are all better for it. There are issues with this point of view as well because not all drugs invented by these companies are better for society and in some instances even hurts the general public, it can go either way.

Those against consumer prescription drug advertisements have stated that the intention of such an advertisement manipulates, creates...
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