Ethics and the Pharmaceutical Industry

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1. Introduction Over the past couple of decades, a sudden change has started to take over the way business is done. The time when no rules applied, and anyone could do what they pleased at the cost of others or the environment is rapidly ending. Instead, companies today have become aware that it is essential for them to employ ethics and morality in their actions, if not they will be heavily scrutinized and rejected by the public. This way of thinking also applies to the pharmaceutical industry, which over the past century has been rapidly expanding. Do to the fact that this industry can determine the health and lives of millions of people, it is imperative that this industry follow an ethical and moral path. When talking about…show more content…
Even though the pharmaceutical industry has made great improvements to human health and quality of life, like creating drugs for the treatment of AIDS, cancer, and other diseases, an increasing tension is growing between the public and the industry. These thoughts are fueled by issues such as drug pricing, affordable health care, and the battle against epidemic diseases in third world countries; social critics wonder whether this multi-billion dollar industry is giving enough back to the community and fulfilling its social responsibility. But the question still remains, how has ethics become involved in the pharmaceutical Industry? To understand this better, I will briefly talk about the history of the industry. In the late 19th and early 20th century key discoveries, such as insulin and penicillin, were made. These medicines were needed in large quantities, and thus allowed major companies that we know today to begin the mass-manufacture and distribution of these. In order to test and approve drugs and to require appropriate labeling legislation was enacted. As the pharmaceutical industry grew, prescription and nonprescription drugs became legally distinguished from one another. From the 1950 's on, numerous new drugs were developed and mass-produced, including the first oral contraceptive, Cortisone, blood pressure drugs, etc. In 1960 Valium
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