Discuss issues associated with pharmaceutical transnational corporations regarding research, production and distribution of drugs. (15 marks)
An example of an issue with pharmaceutical drug corporations is the ethics associated with researching the drugs. For example, Pfizer caused an international scandal when they illegally tested a drug to cure meningitis in Nigeria. 11 children died due to not enough research into the effects of the drug on children. This is an ethical issue, as if Pfizer had done effective research, and received correct authorisation, those children could have been saved. Another issue with research is that drug companies only research profitable drugs. In order to stay afloat, drug companies need to produce a billion dollar drug every few years. Pfizer’s main drug is Viagra for example, which has little impact on global health, and so an issue is that drug companies spend more money researching drugs which don’t matter globally, than on diseases which affect the poorer countries. An issue with the production of drugs is that in LEDC’s the workers are often exploited due to lack of regulations in that area. Often governments are corrupt, and so it is possible that drug corporations could bribe the government to allow drug companies to continue doing questionable things. Another issue with the production of drugs is that the drugs are too expensive for other, poorer countries to reproduce. This is what gives drug companies more money. This is detrimental to global health, as poorer countries with the diseases have no choice but to spend the very little money they have on drugs to cure diseases, therefore it is a choice between losing money or thousands of deaths due to an epidemic. An issue with the distribution of drugs is that it is more profitable for drug companies to sell the drugs in MEDC’s than LEDC’s. An example of this would be GlaxoSmithKline, as they mainly sell their products in MEDC’s, but in many cases, the countries with the...
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