Business Ethics and Social Responsibilities
International governments have further imposed a supportive and beneficent position on the pharmaceutics industry. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade -Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement that drugs can be patented restricted developing and poorer countries in purchasing or producing essential drugs. The Doha Declaration, subsequent Cancun Ministerial Conference and further WTO/International government subcommittees have formally relaxed this restriction for local drug production and extended the option of parallel importation under compulsory licences.
These developments have implications for responding to the current SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) coronavirus pandemic. There are several vaccines for this virus that are currently being produced and dispensed in the developed economies.
The outstanding moral question is what responsibilities do the developed economies and, particularly, the financially secure Pharma companies have to individuals from these developing and poorer countries in the global South? These economies may have mechanisms to produce a suitable vaccine but do not have the finances or experienced operatives, locally, to produce to the quality or quantities required. Perhaps of greater importance, most do not have the infrastructures to access and dispense the vaccines to their entire populations. Several G8 governments have already guaranteed to contribute substantial monies to fund humanitarian aid to those states unable to implement appropriate vaccination programmes. Several have also committed to contributing surplus drugs to these states. However, this highlights the major problem as virtually all production is currently under contract and targeted for these and other financially secure economies.
You are to:
1. Research the current pandemic situation in the developing and poorer economies and provide a brief description of this and what provision will be needed to protect their populations..[10%].
2. Identify and critically evaluate the issue-relatedand context-related factors that will impact on the ethical decision making that:
i. The Pharmaceutical companies
ii. Governments in the developed economies
will need to make.[60%]
3. Discuss what ethics theories underpin each of these ethical decisions.