Merck and Co., River Blindness

1505 words 7 pages
Merck and Co., River Blindness
Ethical Case Analysis
Lennard de Jong
Excelsior College

Author Note
This paper was prepared for Business Ethics, Ethical Case Analysis, taught by Dr. Moser.

Introduction and Situational Analysis
The ethical dilemma in Merck and River Blindness is whether to pursue research that may or may result in profit, or to choose the safe option and go for profit rather than researching the drug. The drug could possibly lead to curing the deadly and detrimental disease known as River Blindness. The drug would kill the parasites that cause the disease. The qualm to this is that, the consumers of the drug could not pay for the medication. This would result in no profit. This is the flip side of the
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The consumers would benefit by having a cure made available to them on the market for this disease. The problem was the disease was predominantly in the poorest parts of the world, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East, therefore, those that needed this medicine the most, could not afford to pay for it. The drug was already found to effectively kill a parasite found in horses that is similar to the parasite that causes River Blindness in humans. The best moral choice in this situation would be to continue with the research of the drug Ivermectin and to make it readily available and safe to those who need the drug regardless of financial capability.

Conclusion and Recommendations
Merck and Co. decided to make the morally correct choice and continue to invest in the research of Mectizan. They also have made it available for the people with River Blindness living in the affected countries, “Since 1987, Merck has donated more than 2.5 billion tablets of MECTIZAN® (Ivermectin) in more than 30 countries worldwide, helping bring a formerly common affliction in those countries closer to elimination.” ("Fighting river blindness," 2010). The Chairman of the Board, Dick Clark, stated, “When Merck made the decision more than 20 years ago to donate MECTIZAN® to help fight river blindness, we dreamed that a milestone like

this might someday be possible." ("Fighting river blindness," 2010). Choosing to go with this decision showed to the public that Merck and Co.

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