The Vioxk Recall Case

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In our free-enterprise system, the basic purpose of a company should be to satisfy its target customers' needs and wants effectively, competitively, ethically, socially responsibly, and profitably. Although a successful business must be a profitable one, the corporate behavior of maximizing profit at the expense of ethics and social responsibility is highly objectionable and should be discouraged. The Vioxx recall case is a perfect example.
I believe Merck failed to uphold its social and ethical responsibility in regards to Vioxx. Merck knowingly profited from selling a drug with deadly side effects. Vioxx sales accounted for 10% of Merck’s $30.78 billion dollars total sales, while from 1999 to 2004, over 139,000 people in the United States had a heart attack or stroke as a result of taking Vioxx; an estimated 55,000 died. In an eight-page letter, the FDA states Merck engaged "in a promotional campaign for Vioxx that minimizes the potentially serious cardiovascular findings that were observed" in a clinical trial comparing Vioxx to naproxen, a less-expensive painkiller. "Your promotional campaign discounts the fact" that in the trial, "patients on Vioxx were observed to have a four to five-fold increase" in heart attacks, compared with patients on naproxen, the letter states. (Martinez, 2004)
A business must exercise extraordinary care when balancing profit' class='brand-secondary'>profit and social responsibility. When business executives fail to maintain this balance and only seek excessive profit, problems will occur. Although they finally decided to discontinue the sale of Vioxx, I believe the decision came a little too late. Merck execs were well informed of the dangers of using Vioxx and I believe they should’ve never put it on the market until they could ...

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...enced to make decision that will most beneficial to themselves. I believe that patients have to change also and take initiative in finding the best medical information available. Patients have to become more involved in their medical decisions rather than just relying solely on the information provided by pharmaceutical companies and doctors who may not necessarily have the best interest in mind when giving their opinion.
In this case Merck abandoned one of their core values “We try never to forget that medicine is for the people. It is not for the profits. The profits follow, and if we have remembered that, they never fail to appear. The better we have remembered that, the larger they have been.” The Vioxx recall is an example of what happens when a company decides generating profit is a higher priority than their ethical and social responsibilities to the public.

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