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Ethical Dilemma of Aspirin

A manufacturer of aspirin had its marketing research department conduct a national survey among doctors to investigate what common household remedies doctors would most likely recommend when treating a patient with a cold. The question asked doctors to pick the one product they would most likely prescribe for their patients from among the choices: Advil, Tylenol, aspirin or none of the above. The distribution of responses was as follows:

Advil 100
Tylenol 100
Aspirin 200
None of the above 600
Total 1,000

The firm uses the results of the survey as a basis for an expensive ad campaign that claimed, "In a national survey, doctors recommended aspirin two to one over Advil and Tylenol as the medicine they would most likely recommend to their patients suffering from colds."

Was the firms claim legitimate? Was it ethical for the firm to omit reporting the number of doctors that expressed "none of the above"? If you were the aspirin manufacturer, how would you use the information?

Solution Preview

No, the firm's claim isn't legitimate because the facts are incorrectly stated. The doctors didn't claim that they would prescribe aspirin 2 to 1 over Advil and Tylenol. The actual results show that 60% -- more than half of the doctors wouldn't prescribe anything and 20% would prescribe Aspirin, while another 20% would recommend either ...

Solution Summary

A manufacturer of aspirin had its marketing research department conduct a national survey among doctors to investigate what common household remedies doctors would most likely recommend when treating a patient with a cold. The question asked doctors to pick the one product they would most likely prescribe for their patients from among the choices: Advil, Tylenol, aspirin or none of the above. The distribution of responses was as follows:

$2.19