River Blindness

2848 words 12 pages
MERCK AND RIVER BLINDNESS

1. Think about the definition of stakeholders — any parties with a stake in the organization’s actions or performance. Who are the stakeholders in this situation? How many can you list? On what basis would you rank them in importance?

People suffering from the disease or those who potentially may be infected – would directly benefit from the cure
Merck employees at all levels – profitability and the economic health of the company affects current employees
Merck shareholders – inability to profit from the drug might have a negative effect on shareholder’s value, but taking the stand on “doing the right thing” might have a favorable effect on company’s reputation and increase the value of the stock
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While Merck would not be able to justify its investment in terms of the financial bottom line, they could argue that the development of the drug would have a significant positive effect on company’s goodwill (which is very hard to measure).

4. If Merck decided not to conduct further research, how would it justify such a decision to its scientists? How might the decision to develop the drug, or not to develop the drug, affect employee loyalty?

As noted earlier, a pharmaceutical company’s scientists are one of its most important resources, a point that students often miss. Of course, they know that they are working for a for-profit company. But, they are also highly trained scientists with advanced degrees, who probably have humanistic values about helping people and curing disease. So, this is an important consideration.

5. How would the media treat a decision to develop the drug? Not to develop the drug? How might either decision affect Merck’s reputation?

It is very hard to say how media would treat a decision to develop the drug. Media might not even be aware of this. It is possible that a media outlet would pick up the story and run with it, but this is not a good reason to do it or not do it. A decision like this must be based upon deeply held values.

6. Think about the decision in terms of the CSR pyramid. Did Merck have an ethical obligation to proceed with development of the

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