River Blindness

Topics: P. Roy Vagelos, Merck, Marketing Pages: 1 (292 words) Published: February 12, 2009
“River Blindness”

In 1979, Dr. William Campbell, a research scientist working for Merck and Company, discovered evidence that one of the company’s drugs might kill the parasite that causes river blindness. He then decided to request permission to research this new finding. The mangers for the company noticed that it would take enormous amount of funding and time to develop this new vaccine.

This new product could be really hard to market and who was going to actually buy it; it could also damaged the market share that Merck currently had by selling the animal version of the vaccine Ivermectin. Despite all of this, Dr. P. Roy Vagelos chairman of Merck and Company and his fellow managers approved the necessary funding for the research to take effect and to bring to the market a human version of Ivermectin.

Merck and Company felt morally obligated to produce the human version of the vaccine, despite of the tremendous lost that it could face. When asked, Dr. Vagelos, why to produced such a vaccine that produced no money to the company he simply replied that the only ethical choice was to develop it.

I think this was a good Utilitarianism example since it produced happiness for both the people and the company. Like Dr. Vagelos said, people will remember that Merck was the one that help them. In the other hand if we would choose Psychological egoism, the only one to gain at first is the company but what happens after. People would know that this company is just thinking of their bottom line and has no commitment to them what so ever. Companies that think only about producing money can’t survive for ever; eventually hard times catch up with them.
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