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Current Ethical Issue Essay

1349 words - 5 pages

Pressure from upper management can put a strain on the ethical boundaries of a company. Amgen is a biotech firm which has pushed salesmen past the acceptable ethical guidelines and as a result, may have crossed ethical boundaries. The company is facing allegations of obtaining patients' confidential information and using it to benefit Amgen. The action is inconsistent with actions termed acceptable by the biotech industry. Establishing ethics policies, ethics committees, and ethics training prevent companies from knowingly committing ethics violations.Ethical Issue in BusinessAmgen, who is marketing the psoriasis drug Enbrel, has recently found them selves in an ethical bind. The company began having problems when management pressured their sales representatives to look into patient's files to find those who have psoriasis so they could try new treatment on them. These sales representatives refused to be a part of this illegal activity and were terminated. When filing a suit against the company, two of the sales representatives told of other illegal issues Amgen had participated in. Not only was Amgen breaking confidentiality rules they were also having some associates pose as doctor's staff to go through insurance companies to receive reimbursement for the medicine. Finally, Amgen is under investigation "into whether Amgen had engaged in off-labeling marketing. Enbrel is approved for moderate or severe psoriasis, but the two former [employees] say the company tried to sell it for mild psoriasis as well" (Pollack, 2008, 3). When it comes to ethics, these ground rules fall under certain theories and the sales associate's situation fall under the duty based ethics. Duty based ethics are the rules and values that are those derived from what is right. The Amgen sales associates spoke up because it was the right thing to do no matter what the consequences might have been.Bases of the Ethical IssuePatient privacy was violated once the pharmaceutical company learned the names of the patients who were potential users of the medication. HIPPA laws are in place to protect "all individually identifiable health information" (United States Department of Health and Human Services, 2008, 3). The pharmaceutical company asked their sales representatives to find doctors who were willing to search files for candidates and provide names and addresses to the representatives. The representatives would then send letters to the patient on the doctor's behalf. Employees who refused were either discharged or given poor performance reviews.Both doctors and pharmaceutical representatives violated a code of ethics; the doctors from providing the information about patients' conditions and the pharmaceutical company for asking for it. The pharmaceutical company also falsely represented themselves to patients and insurance companies by contacting the patients and insurance companies.The medication in question was labeled to be marketed in cases of moderate to severe conditions...

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