Legal and Ethical Considerations in Marketing, Product Safety and Intellectual Property
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Legal and Ethical Considerations in Marketing, Product Safety and Intellectual Property
Ethical issues tend to differ depending on the social code and daily morality. Ethical issues are of considerable concern and therefore should be addressed due to the fact that discussions on the stem cell research, abortion and consumer loyalty still invoke serious arguments, (Davidson, 2011). Most ethics including those in the business sector revolve around moral or principles of morality, right and wrongful actions, expressions of moral approvals in reference to principles of conduct generally viewed as correct by individuals in a particular profession or group. In the business world, ethical issues arise from advertising, suppliers, personal selling, contracts and pricing. Some examples of ethical issues relating to business activities arise from market research, market audience and pricing. Market research that interferes with the privacy of the customers or any research that is conducted in relation to customers is unethical. At any given time when a company carrying out research for the purpose of marketing or when they are getting feedback about their performance, the kind of the method used to carry out research should respect the rights of customers at all times. The method used to select market audience is also is also a common section of business which at times is likely to bring about practices which are unethical. It is also unethical if the companies excludes the potential customers out of the target market. Also when there is performance of selective marketing or even targeting those customers who are very vulnerable such as the needy or children can make some customers get discouraged and therefore this qualifies it to be unethical. Also predatory pricing and price discrimination are some of business ethics and should be greatly avoided since they greatly tend to oppress customers and more especially the monopolistic market. This is simply because those customers have got no option other than purchasing from the said business (Noordin, 2012).
Direct to consumer marketing is a strategy that allows pharmaceutical companies to market their products to customers directly. When they directly promote their prescription directly to the patients, pharmaceutical companies are in a better position to influence the patients’ decisions. This kind of situation may be advantageous to both the patients and the company or instead be harmful and disadvantageous. When the marketing approach is used by the pharmaceutical, it gives an allowance to patients to be in better position to have discussions with them and hence ensuring that they are more informed on the ways the drugs should be administered as well as assisting the company to prescribe the drugs correctly. Further, DTC marketing provides education to patients and hence helping them to ensure they have better control over their medical care and in turn improving their wellbeing. To add on that, a research was carried out by (Davison, 2002) which argued that, patients are more motivated to take out drugs which are prescribed. Therefore, DTC administration is a better system to encourage the patients to be more compliant to the drugs prescriptions and regimens.
There are however a number of negative effects that are experienced when pharmaceutical companies are allowed to prescribe their drugs directly to the customers. One of the negative effects is that there is over-utilization of unnecessary intake of drugs. There is also minimal or reduced time to examine and evaluate a patient. Most pharmaceutical companies do not carry out the required and the proper research in regard to the side effects of their drugs before administering them to their customers. Therefore DTC administration encourages companies to neglect this important and crucial stage of drug prescription. Therefore, patients may decide to self-treat themselves and hence, they may take the wrong medication or suffer serious side effects due to lack of the right medical care.
Compounding pharmacies concentrates largely on the distribution of specified or unusual drugs. Compounding pharmacy may for instance require to produce certain drugs whose milligrams are not produced. The production of such drugs takes care of the prescription ordered by an individual. Mostly, Compounding pharmacies helps in producing drugs for patients with allergies such as coloring agents or even those individuals required to take specific amounts of a certain substance per tablets. Compounding pharmacies should be issued licenses in order to maintain the required standards of drug production which is the responsibility of the state board. The state boards such as Food and Drug Administration assist by carrying out an inspection how the preparation, mixing, labelling and packaging of drugs has been done. When we look at the case of PharmaCare whereby many people were seen to suffer negative effects of compound drugs which were properly prepared, there is need to grant FDA more power. Since the supervision of the manufacturing of the entire drugs is done by the state board, inadequate supervision is evident due to many pharmacies in a state. If FDA is involved in a federal board, it will assist in embracing more accurate and close monitoring of all stages of production and packaging. FDA has some other additional powers related to the compounding of drugs which includes, the right to stop the compounding process in case the drug being processed is harmful, ineffective or unsafe. It is also the mandate of the FDA to stop any compound drug that is merely a copy of a commercial drug which is already available.
PharmaCare uses the US law to protect its intellectual property. In order to attain the US protection, it uses legal counsel to come up with an overall protection strategy. It is also their duty to make sure that all the company subcontracts and licensing follow the intellectual property language. It also embrace a system that is well-established in order to be able to analyze and monitor all the foreign partners so as to be able to maintain the due diligence. To add on that, the company has further secured patents and trademarks, it has also been registered and sought protection from the border from the United States government.
There are some ways through which the PharmaCare Company could compensate for John for the use of his intellectual property. Firstly, instead of the PharmaCare Company using John as an executive manager, it must provide the appropriate and the correct legislative conditions for them to live. The second way in which the company could compensate John would be financially. When the company is paying John a less amount of income, it is quite exploitative which could be possible mainly if John’s living conditions were very difficult. PharmaCare should then purpose to pay John at least the minimum wage as required and applicable to the United States law. If they purpose to pay John in the appropriate manner as it should be since they are working for the company, this would go a long way towards helping him improve his life which will also amount to improving the economy of his country. Thirdly, it is evident that all those people who received AD23 seemed to be suffering from heart attacks at a very alarming rate including John’s wife who loses her life after using it. Since John suffers from losing his wife, it should be clear that all that loss should be borne by the company. The company should therefore be responsible for that damage they cause to the environments and find the means of ensuring that the same case won’t be reported to have happened. In connection to that, the company should purpose to offer healthcare educational scholarships to people so that they get equipped with the required knowledge and skills about these drugs even before releasing them to the people for consumption so that they take what is right. Due to the increased awareness that will arise from formal education, most of the people who are charged to be responsible for providing the plants responsible for the manufacture of the AD23 drug, will then have a clearer sense of its value. This will therefore result to an increase in the production of the plants in question, which could therefore benefit both the people and the PharmaCare Company as the plants will be sold at a very fair and proper price. When the manufacturing plants are established, they will have been brought closer to the people and hence it will reduce the distance of the medicine people having to travel so as to supply the plants to the required people. Therefore the lives of those people will have been improved since facilities like water and electricity will have been made available due to the establishment of such manufacturing plants.
PharmaCare has committed a lot of mistakes that destroys and damages the value of the company’s brand. It is not performing its task the way it should and also not living its kind because it proclaims to be one of the most successful pharmaceuticals in the world, enjoying a unique status as a caring, clean, an well-run company that produced products of a very high quality in order to ensure that the lives of the millions of people are enhanced. However when the stock price changed, their rates dropped. Since the company’s character is known to be loving, it is therefore quite hard to understand why they then produced harmful and dangerous drugs that made people fall sick and even gone to an extend of making others lose their lives. It was completely ironical and wrong for the company to claim that it was saving a millions of people and yet producing the drugs in an inefficient and non-conducive environment claiming to improve the lives of the people when they were instead improving theirs. They manufactured drugs which made a lot of people sick and even others losing their lives and even their executives like John knew and due to excessive greed they even continued to produce them. This reprehensible behavior destroyed the quality of the other peoples’ lives. On my own perception and standpoint, it is not ethical for the company to make profit through misusing of the people. It is also not with the accordance to law when people go making money at the expense of the others who are unable to understand whether they are being misused or being taken advantage of. Every human person has a right to get what he or she deserves whether tangible or intangible. Especially when it comes to medication, every human person has a right to get the right medication and if any other person interferes with this concept, he or she should suffer the consequences according to the law.
For PharmaCare to ensure that it has taken care of the welfare of the people they are administering drugs to, it should be efficient in both the commercial operations are achieved without exceeding the limits of company ethics. Further, the company should be honest in its dealings and ensure that it has not deceived the potential and the existing customers and employees and should instead be associated with the other firms and groups. The company should to the latter observe the respectful rights of the consumers, stakeholders and employees. Professional ethos and ethics are very crucial when it comes to maintaining good reputation of any business organization. The employees should endeavor to discharge their duties as required and expected of them as stipulated in the professional code of conduct and engagement. The business should ensure timely delivery of quality drugs to the consumers. This is known to be very essential in promoting the credibility and reputation of any company in business operations. Delays in the supply chain system brings inefficiency in the process of delivering quality services to the consumers. Inefficiency and ineffectiveness in the supply chain system results in lower customer satisfaction scores that has a resultant negative effect on the quantity of the company’s goods and services demanded. This is likely to negatively affect the going concern basis of the company hence making it run out of business. High welfare of the consumers of the drugs manufactured and sold by the company can also be increased by establishing a holistic training program for the employees that is aimed at making them conversant with the current practices and technical processes of drug and treatment administration. The company should also engage a process of continued quality assessment and improvement aimed at ensuring that the services and drugs that the company provides to the people are modern and reflect the evolving and dynamic nature of health complications today. The welfare and utility that people derive from consumption of the services offered by the company can also be increased through ensuring that the operations of the company are run in a clean and serene environment free from noise and air pollution that may to a great extend affect the health of the people that the company plans to protect their health and lives.
PharmaCare is criticized as a result of not living up to its brand kind. Procedural and technical mistakes committed by the company have continued to destroy the brand name of the company. Holistic and efficient measures and mechanism should therefore be put in place to ensure the rate and the frequency with which these mistakes occur is reduced. It should be understood that mistakes in the operations of the company come at a cost in the sense that lives of innocent people may be lost in the process and this make reduce the credibility and confidence that people have on the services offered by the company. The company has over time enjoyed the brand name of being the best pharmaceutical company in the world offering high quality products and services to the people but this appears to have suddenly disapproved because of the many lives of people that have been lost in the recent past due to minor mistakes that could have been handled and tamed by the company if it was serious and careful in providing the best possible services and products to the people. According to Staton(2010), the company’s previous high reputation ratings do not conform to the current trend where very many people got sick and others died after consuming poor quality drugs and medication offered by the company. Therefore it is clear that the company’s brand reputation has been declining over time due to poor quality of the services and products that are offered by the company. Dangerous and inefficient drugs were made in a non-healthy environment which cost lives of very many people. If the company was keen in ensuring its brand kind, it could have taken measures to ensure that the drugs manufactured are of high quality and that they do not affect the physiology and metabolism of the human body. This way, the many lives that were lost could not have been lost and the company could have in real sense improved its reputation before the eyes of the consumers who consume its products and services.
According to Halbert(2012), any company that provides goods and services that are of low quality and which affect the general human health can be sued under the law of tort for compensation to the affected victims. Due the fact that the company has been providing low quality drugs over time which have cost the lives of very many people, it can be concluded that the death of the wife of John was caused by the poor quality drugs that were administered to the patients by the company. The company failed to adhere strictly to international standards that regulate the production, distribution and administration of drugs to patients. The company can therefore be sued by any victim for compensation so that it can improve it the quality of its services and products. The common law jurisprudence postulates that any manufacturer should exercise due care while carrying out production of goods and services for consumption by the people so that those same goods and services do not harm the consumer. John should therefore be advised to seek redress for the damages that his wife suffered before a court of law by suing the company which operates as an independent artificial person. This move by John can ensure that the company becomes even more careful while manufacturing drugs and administering them to patients in the sense that punitive compensation cost imposed on the company will be so high that the company will need to re-strategize on the best approaches of ensuring that the customers are satisfied.
In conclusion, ethical and legal considerations in advertising, marketing and product safety are so essential that to a company that if anyone ignores them, the company is bound to collapse and run out of business. For overall success, a company must balance between the need to manufacture and market a product within the confines of ethical and legal responsibility.
Staton, T.(2010, February 10). Merk Makes Deal With Vioxx Shareholders. FiercePharma. Retrieved on August, 28 2015 from http://www.fiercepharma.com/story//merck-makes-deal-vioxx-shareholders/2010-02-10
Halbert, T., & Ingulli, E.(2012). Law & Ethics in the Business Environment(7th ed.). Mason OH: South-Western Cengage Learning Publishers.
Davidson, D.K.(2011): The Moral Dimension of Marketing: Essays on Business Ethics. Southwestern Educational Publishers.
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