Ethics and the Pharmaceutical Industry

Book Reviews: The chapters in this book are written by authors with diverse experiences and perspectives. They come from government and industry, from advocacy organizations and academia, as well as from the scientific and medical communities. It is a notable sign of the force and maturity of globalization that most of the contributors, regardless of their nationality or backgrounds, quite naturally address these issues by considering different international perspectives. Although not every voice and every relevant issue appears in these pages, the authors believe the authors have made an unprecedented effort to gather a highly diverse and talented group of authors to address a broad spectrum of the issues that dominate the relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and society in a global context.

The diversity of viewpoints among the contributors is mirrored in the differing perspectives of the editors. Together, since the year 2000, the authors have taught a class at Rutgers Business School on the ethical and regulatory issues facing the pharmaceutical industry. Sometimes much to the unintended amusement of our students, and the authors hope occasionally to their enlightenment, the authors have sharply, though collegially, disagreed on many matters affecting the pharmaceutical industry. Our disagreements are perhaps rooted in two fundamentally different perspectives.

First, Dr. Gorrie believes that healthcare is a commodity purchased by the individual or society, the provision of which is made through that most social of institutions, insurance. Government’s role is to ensure that the economically disadvantaged have access to healthcare. By contrast, Prof. Santoro believes that healthcare is a fundamental human right that circumscribes the exercise of intellectual property rights, particularly in the case of life-saving drugs for diseases such as HIV/AIDS.

Second, although the authors both believe in the power of the free market to drive innovation and progress in healthcare, Prof. Santoro believes that stronger government regulation of the pharmaceutical industry is desirable and inevitable because he believes that the dictates of the market too often drive pharmaceutical companies to maximize their profits in a manner that fails to deploy social resources optimally to provide the best healthcare for citizens. Dr. Gorrie, by contrast, believes that marketplace forces can more effectively address issues in the system than can the controlling hand of government.

Our differing perspectives are, in part, based upon our different experiences – Dr. Gorrie has spent his career at Johnson & Johnson in a number of roles, most recently as the Corporate Vice President of Government Affairs; Prof. Santoro has devoted his academic career to bringing accountability to multinational corporations for global social issues such as human rights and the environment.

Our differences, philosophical and otherwise, are real and significant; however, the authors both believe that choice is the lynchpin of effective healthcare and that all people should have access to affordable products and services that will save, enhance, improve, and prolong their lives, a mandate that certainly extends to people suffering from global pandemics. Most importantly, the authors both believe that knowledge best emerges from dialogue and listening to diverse viewpoints. This book offers multiple perspectives about the highly charged ideological issues the industry faces today. Written by leading experts in their respective fields, the essays comprising this book are not biased toward one particular point of view (either pro-business or anti-corporate). the authors both highly value the opportunity to engage in public discourse about business and ethics, and, in particular, to talk about the complex ethical issues inherent in medicine and healthcare. the authors believe that reasoned discussion will open channels of communication, lead to better understanding, and ultimately result in progressive change.

Selected Reviews:

Real issues about how the pharmaceutical industry carries out its assigned role in society.

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Bibliographical Data of Ethics and the Pharmaceutical Industry

Reference Type: Book
Record Number: xx
Author: Michael A. Santoro, Thomas M. Gorrie
Year: 2007
Place Published: Cambridge, England
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Number of Pages: 528
Edition: 1st
ISBN -10: 0521708885
ISBN-13: 978-0521708883
Kindle Available: ASIN: B001OONAJ4
Buy: Get it on Amazon

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