river blindness

Topics: Risk, Decision theory, Ethics Pages: 2 (303 words) Published: June 2, 2014
The case of Blindness of Merck is one of the good examples, which can be used to analyse the four theories of ethic such as Utilitarianism, Kantianism, Rights and Justice as well as CRS. This essay will be focus on Utilitarianism theory.

River blindness is a disease that afflicts around 18 million peoples in Africa and Asia. It is the result of black fly’s bite. Merck is a pharmaceutical company located in New Jersey which is known for productivity of research and development effort. In the mid of 1980 in veterinarian drug unit, Dr William Campbell note a marked genetic similarity between the microfilariae found in horses which had a connection with microfilariae lead to blindness of human. However, to do the human testing, there were both moral and financial problems.

To analyse the theory, decision maker and ethical dilemma must be identified. In this case, the CEO Vagelos can be considered as the decision maker and ethical dilemma is

To proceed the drug test
Not to proceed the drug test.

Parties affected:


Going either of choice, the DM facing the undesirable consequences:

To proceed the drug test:

Positive consequences:
Increase the image of company by providing the cure to river blindness victims Attract more scientists
Increase profit due to the increase of current products

Negative consequences:
Financial risk due to the poorness of countries
Negative image and loss reputation due to the failure of the drug test

Not to proceed the drug test:

Negative consequences:
Selfish company under money concerns
Blindness victims are still suffering the pain

Positive consequences:
Financial stable

According to Utilitarianism, the decision maker has to choose the choice, which provide the greatest good for the greatest number. Therefore, the CEO has to proceed the drug test by looking at the points addressed.
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