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Drug Companies and Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a theme that we see often in the headlines. Companies that fail to address CSR issues are often demonized, while those that embrace CSR are hailed as strong examples of ethical organizations. Many companies view CSR initiatives as a growth opportunity, not just a regulatory requirement. Often a discussion surrounds a company's ability to tie CSR initiatives to gains in a company's competitive advantage and access to new business opportunities. The challenge can sometimes be related to the level of poverty within a region. In other words, being socially responsible might mean that there is no gain in competitive advantage or increase in corporate profits.

Drug Dilemmas http://books.google.com/books?id=K0Le2urkC0cC&pg=PA255&lpg=PA255&dq=drug+dilemmas+case+6.4&source=bl&ots=crKTTEBOHP&sig=gUzE9rSQp4njgwN5lg6kwwUO_lI&hl=en&sa=X&ei=UrM0U-2TCOe0sQTCwYDwBw&ved=0CCcQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=drug%20dilemmas%20case%206.4&f=false

Locate an article that addresses issues associated with prescription medicine. This article can be a peer-reviewed research-based journal article or a magazine or newspaper story.

Next, reflect upon the following:

Given the nature of their product, do pharmaceutical companies have ethical responsibilities that other corporations don't have?

In your view, are the large U.S. drug companies good corporate citizens?

When it comes to life-saving drugs, do pharmaceutical companies have a moral obligation to make them available in poor countries at little or no cost? Explain why or why not. Consider the difference between life-saving and non-life-saving drugs.
How does your explanation reflect on the organizations' need to be socially responsible?

Take a theory and use that as the lens by which you analyze the complexity of the situation while answering the questions.

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Solution Preview

Corporate Social Responsibility, often referred to as CSR, is becoming an integral part of many organizations today. Pharmaceutical companies are beginning to evolve as stewards of CSR, and face increasing challenges that must balance their ethical responsibilities against that of their obligations as a private industry. Currently, pharmaceutical companies are facing a backlash from the CSR landscape and they are routinely being demonized as conglomerates only concerned with profitability and showing no concern for patient well being (Capaldi, 2014). The question many ask is, do pharmaceutical companies having ethical responsibilities that another organization may not?
In order to address this conundrum, the onion layers must be peeled back to reveal the nature of the industry. The pharmaceutical industry is part of the health care industry in the United States. The primary focus of these companies is to generate profit while providing life saving and treatment options to patients. The mission of these organizations creates a unique paradigm that often pits profits against moral obligations. In fact, the industry itself is part of the growing debate of health care in many developed and growing nations in the world today.
In evaluating the question of whether U.S. drug companies are good corporate ...

Solution Summary

This solution provides the student with an illustration of drug companies and their responsibilities when considering Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR.