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Question: this question relates to the assigned reading and course materials...

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This question relates to the assigned reading and course materials for Week 11 (Reading: Andrew Ghillyer (2012). ‘Management without conscience’).


Read the paragraph below about the behaviour of a large pharmaceutical company and then answer the following question:

Question: In your opinion, does the pharmaceutical company in this story have a responsibility to make their potentially life-saving drug available to those who need it in sub-Saharan Africa? Support your answer with reference to either the “instrumental approach” to CSR or the “social contract approach” to corporate management.

Paragraph: “The second way in which the poor lose out is that drug companies can refuse to market products that would save lives in the tropics but do not reap corporate rewards. An illustration is the story of the drug eflornithine, which was originally developed—but found to be ineffective—as an anticancer agent. The drug is effective against African sleeping sickness, which claims thousands of lives annually in sub-Saharan Africa. It is the only known treatment for the resistant form of the disease, which has a prevalence of up to 20% in parts of Uganda. Hoechst Marion Roussel, the company that developed it, stopped its production in 1999, citing commercial failure. This decision left thousands dying of a curable illness without treatment. Would the US government stand by and allow a drug company to refuse to market a safe treatment for a disease that killed thousands of US citizens every year? We doubt it. And there is a distasteful twist in the story. Bristol-Myers Squibb and Gillette have just introduced Vaniqa, a facial cream containing eflornithine HCl, the “first and only prescription cream proven to slow the growth of unwanted facial hair in women” (www.vaniqa.com). The drug may indeed reach Africa, but only because its cosmetic properties make it profitable.”

Source: MacDonald, R., & Yamey, G. (2001). The cost to global health of drug company profits. Western Journal of Medicine, 174(5), 302. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1071375/

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