Ethics and Decision Making
Janice Green was the chief executive officer (CEO) of Keller, Inc., a pharmaceutical company that manufactures a vaccine called Celex, which supposedly provides some defense against contracting the Zica virus. The company began marketing Celex throughout Brazil and other countries in South America. After numerous media reports that the Zica virus had mirgrated to the United States and could soon become a worldwide epidemic, the demand for Celex increased, sales, soared, and Keller earned record profits. Keller’s CEO, Green, then began receiving disturbing reports from Brazil that in some patients, Celex had caused psychiatric disturbances, including severe hallucinations, depression, and heart and lung problems. Green was informed that seven women in Brazil had committed suicide by jumping off buildings after receiving the vaccine. To cover up the story and prevent negative publicity, Green instructed Keller’s partners in Brazil to offer cash to the families of the women had died in exchange for their silence. Green also refused to authorize additional research within the company to study the potential side effects of Celex.
1. This scenario illustrates one of the main reasons why ethical problems occur in business. What is that reason?
2.Would a person who adheres to the principle of rights consider it ethical for Green not to disclose potential safety concerns and to refuse to perform additional research on Celex? Why or why not?
3.Assume for purposes of this question that the Zica virus has the potential to kill individuals who are infected. If seven Brazilian women died from using Celex to treat the Zica virus, but the drug prevented fifty Brazilian people who were infected with the Zica virus from dying, would Green’s conduct in this situation be ethical under a utilitarian model of ethics? Why or why not?
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