Every person encounters various problems that require choosing between ethical and unethical behavior, especially in business settings. If I were in a position similar to the one described in the presented case, I would probably struggle with my decision. While the most appropriate solution may be to terminate the drug’s sales, it may lead to employees losing earnings or even jobs. Therefore, one should consider the complexity of the question and the perspectives of each side to resolve the situation.
Firstly, the issue from the case represents several ethical dilemmas. If my superiors deny doing additional tests on the drug, I would have to commit an ethical breach of knowingly conveying false information to my co-workers and the public. Hiding information about the drug’s side effects would affect other employees who may not be charged legally, but it would violate their moral beliefs. Moreover, not revealing possible consequences would allow the company to take advantage of customers and competitors by giving the false impression of effectively reducing migraine headaches. The described ethical dilemmas are interconnected and show the intricacy of the case involving the drug’s consumers and the company’s employees and rivals.
Secondly, as the case concerns different parties, one needs to examine the matter from their perspectives. People most influenced in such a situation would be the consumers who expect their pain to ease and may or may not develop brain tumors. While the worsening health condition is already an issue, it may impact the customers’ families. For instance, suppose that some clients are breadwinners in their families or have mortgages, and brain tumors would result in them being unable to work and earn money. Moreover, the clients may already have other medical conditions besides migraine, not have relatives to take care of them, or be at the peak of their lives and unexpectedly be restricted by the acquired disease. Nevertheless, if the company chooses to order more testing and temporarily stop the sales, it will reduce profit. The loss of income may reduce salary or staff, and some employees may also be the primary wage workers in their families. While continuing the sales may affect the customers, termination of the drug is likely to trouble those involved in its making.
Following that, the company’s competitors and the public can also be affected by the case. One of the ethical dilemmas mentioned above is that the company would give a false impression while hiding the truth about the drug’s possible side effects. Consequently, other businesses would be less successful at selling similar but safer medications. Those businesses may have to stop operating or pay less to their workers, and the customers would lose the chance to get better treatment for their pain. Moreover, the inaccurate appearance of the drug’s effectiveness seen in advertisements may make people recommend it to their loved ones and feel guilty if brain tumors develop. Some people may work in the said company and then be blamed for the recommendation, even if they were unaware of the risks. The concealment of the drug’s dangers may interfere with fair competition, overstep people’s moral standards, and jeopardize their relationships.
Thirdly, if the company’s upper management determines to continue sales without additional testing, one should analyze their rationalizations. Although the company may make such a decision because of greed and the possibility of making a profit for several years, they may try to avoid facing ethical dilemmas for other reasons. For example, superiors may think everybody else would choose the same, as all drugs have some components that may cause complications, but businesses typically do not do additional verification or reveal this information. As the case states that one cannot be liable for what happens, the upper management may rely on the lawyers’ confirmation that the company will not face any consequences in twenty years. Moreover, regardless of the superiors’ rationalizations, I could distance myself from the situation and responsibilities by saying in the future that I was following orders. However, considering the above perspectives, any mentioned rationalizations would not be sufficient compared to people’s health and lives.
Finally, some ethics models can help in resolving the situation. For instance, I could apply the Blanchard and Peale model, which directs managers to ask whether a problem is legal and balanced and how it makes them feel. When viewing the lawfulness, I would focus on the necessity to order more tests rather than the possible consequences. If the law obliged the company to perform additional testing, I would insist on doing so. Otherwise, I would review the issue from other perspectives. While some employees may have troubles with their work conditions, those troubles would not last for good specialists. Therefore, I would likely prioritize the consumers’ health, hoping that my co-workers would manage temporary complications. The situation does not make me feel comfortable now, so I expect it would not be pleasant if it were real. Furthermore, The Front-Page-of-the-Newspaper Test advises envisioning how a reporter would describe the decision. Regardless of brain tumors’ development after twenty years, the information about the drug’s possible danger may become known in a month or a year, causing public rage. The two ethics models suggest persuading superiors to do more tests.
To summarize, the presented case is complex as it is affiliated with several ethical dilemmas. Those dilemmas include saying something that is not true, hiding information, and giving a false impression. The issue concerns many people, from consumers who may acquire brain tumors to employees who may lose income and other companies being denied fair competition. If I were in such a situation and chose not to proceed with tests, I could find a rationalization for myself and my superiors. However, I would more likely apply ethics models before deciding. The Front-Page-of-the-Newspaper Test and the Blanchard and Peale model indicate that people should know the truth, and the company should order additional tests. Therefore, following my ethical knowledge and moral principles, I would concentrate on the customers’ well-being in this case.