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Case Study

2991 words - 12 pages

Case Study: GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and AIDS in Africa
In this case study analysis paper, I shall argue that it is morally acceptable for Indian drug companies to copy and sell the AIDS drugs developed by GlaxoSmithKline and Bristol-Myers Squibb. The reasons and evidence that support this moral judgment are as follows:
Utilitarianism states that an action is morally correct if the sum total benefits produced by the action is greater than the sum total of benefits produced by any other action that could have been performed in its place. In other words, does the action maximize benefits and minimize injuries to those affected by it? In this case study it’s known that AIDS is ...view middle of the document...

Along with increased workforce a notable increase in innovation would be apparent. With all the lives being saved from the disease and subsequently prolonged this allows individuals more opportunities. Because so many more people are being presented with more opportunities (opportunities such as education, a stable living environment, etc.) it is unrealistic to believe that no one would take advantage of these opportunities and work towards making an idea of theirs a reality, whether it be a cure for a disease or a way to make production of some good or service more efficient, and help not just Africa but the rest of the world.
The financial loss of the drug companies would not be significant enough to promote not allowing Indian companies to make and sell the drug. It was reported in 2002 that the ten largest drug companies had a total profits of 35.9 billion dollars which was over half of the 69.6 billion dollars in net profits of all the other companies that made up the Fortune 500. The ten large drug companies made 17 cents for every dollar of revenue, compared to the 3.1 cents per dollar of revenue that the other Fortune 500 companies made on average. In 2003, GlaxoSmithKline alone had a profit margin of 21 percent, a return on equity of 122 percent, and a return on assets of 26 percent. Bristol-Myers Squibb had a profit margin of 19 percent, return on equity of 36 percent, and return on assets of 14 percent. From this information clearly it is well within the capacity of the big drug companies to lower prices for AIDS drugs to developing nations, even if a small portion of these drugs ended up being smuggled back into the United States. This shows even if it is being sold by another company the big drug company will still make enough money for its employees. Clearly this option provides the greatest amount of benefits and has the fewest and least sever negative consequences to those individuals affected by the action.
According to rights theory an action is morally correct if it respects the natural rights of human beings. The Indian companies copying and selling AIDS drugs made by GlaxoSmithKline and Bristol-Myers Squibb respects the right to life. Every person deserves the right to life and many of the individuals who contracted the disease did so when they were born and had no control in if they got it or not. Individuals in sub-Sahara Africa have a right to life and since this is an intrinsic right that each person possess no matter what their socioeconomic standing in society they have just as much the right to life as anyone. This right needs to be preserved at all costs because it is the most important right, without life no other rights matter. This action also respects the right to sufficient health care, these companies are providing affordable health care to impoverished nations who could not afford the treatment otherwise. Finally this action respects the right to choose a state of life, to found a family...

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