Legal and Ethical Considerations in Marketing, Product Safety, and Intellectual
Ethics and legal issues refer to the morals and principles that govern the behavior and conduct of individuals or organizations. These legal principles and ethics serve to guide and offer directions on how to act or respond when faced with moral dilemmas. Marketing, advertising and product safety are areas of importance to everyone in the community. Production, distribution and use of products or services are areas guided by the laws of the land. The laws function to protect the community from exploitation or mishandling by the participants in the above sectors. In the marketing and advertising framework, the concept of ethics deals with personal moral principles and values. Under this framework, the society understands that laws are values and standards that are enforceable in the court. In the production of goods and services, the laws of the land stipulate the moral principles and guidelines abided by producers.
There are many ethical issues relating to marketing, product safety and intellectual property. Under this framework, participants understand that actions considered ethical may not necessarily be legal. Cultural and societal norms may also change perceptions of individuals towards various factors considered as either legal but not ethical and vice versa. In marketing and advertising, saying the truth is the first basic ethical standard. Many marketers and advertisers exaggerate the information about their products in order to attract buyers. It later turns out that the product does not meet the expectations earlier explained by the seller. Product safety refers to the reliability of a product to bring a useful effect to the final user. When an individual purchases a product, the expectation is that the product will provide utility. It is unethical if a product will cause negative effects to the consumer. Intellectual property entails the rightful ownership of certain information guided by a number of laws and agreements throughout the world. An individual or an organization has the right to protect their ideas for personal benefits and competitive advantage over others. Duplicating such materials or ideas with the owner's approval is unethical and illegal.
Direct to consumer advertising is a marketing strategy adopted by pharmaceutical companies. This strategy is unethical and an illegal approach due to the exploitation and use of the drugs that may occur from lack of regulation before distribution. This marketing strategy is illegal in many countries of the world apart from the U.S.A. And New Zealand. Foods and drugs association regulate this marketing approach, but research shows that the rules are too relaxed and inadequately enforced (Ventola, 2011). Direct to consumer advertising takes various forms such as 'help seeking advertisements' and 'reminder advertisements'. 'Help seeking advertisements' only provide information about a certain medical condition and encourages patients to see a medical practitioner. This form of an advertisement does not mention the product under consideration. 'Reminder advertisements' provide information about dosage and the strength of the product. It goes further to provide the price but do not make indications about the cured diseases.
The most common form of direct to consumer advertising is 'product claim advertisement', which provides all the information about the drug prescription and its indications. Direct to consumer advertising (DTCA) is useful as the adverts provide useful information to patients and enable them to take charge of their health. Consumers of these drugs benefit from having access to multiple sources rather than relying on medical practitioners (Ventola, 2011). Help seeking advertisement encourages patients to seek medical help from health officers, and they encourage dialogues between a patient and the healthcare provider. Research shows that the dialogues do not benefit the drug manufacturer but the patients. DTCA encourages and promotes patient compliance and understanding about their medical conditions. DTCA enforces physicians' recommendations to their patients and the probability that they abide to the recommendations is high.
DTCA is significant in the country as it reduces the stigma associated with various diseases. The advertisements help to raise awareness about certain diseases that could otherwise not be clear because people cannot open up to health care providers. Direct to customer advertisement is important as it encourages competition among the manufacturers leading to the production of quality drugs and reduction of prices. All these are advantageous to patients. These advertisements strengthen the relationships between patients and healthcare providers. The advertisements provide information to patients and decision-making between clinicians and patients is easy (Ventola, 2011).
Pharmaceutical compounding refers to designing of the suitable size of drugs in order to meet the needs of various patients and diseases. Compounding is an important element in the medical field and can raise ethical, safety and legal issues. State boards such as Foods and drugs association (FDA), regulate compounding by pharmacies. Apart from the state boards, federal laws and regulations also play a significant role in the control of compounding. Inappropriate compounding of drugs can lead to serious problems to users of drugs. It can even cause other infections that may lead to catastrophic deaths of many patients. Due to the serious effects that poor compounding can cause new federal regulatory schemes, empower FDA to regulate the activities of compounding pharmacies. FDA should amend the regulatory laws concerning compounding and supervise the activities of licensed pharmacists. FDA should be empowered to adopt the measures of the federal law such as prohibiting the compounding of drugs that present difficulties in compounding.
FDA should be able to offer compounding licenses to compounding pharmacies and control compounding of drugs that were initially not in the market. Compounding of such drugs is illegal because one or two elements of such drugs proved to be unsafe. In order to ensure strictness on copyrights, compounding of drugs that are copies other available drugs in the market should not take place.
PharmaCARE use of Colberian property rights
Utilitarianism refers to a straightforward method of deciding a morally right action for a particular situation. This is an ethical theory that points to right or wrong based on the outcomes choosing one option and neglecting another option. PharmaCare use of Colberian property rights is unethical because utilitarianism suggests the use of one option at the expense of another. PharmaCARE does not consider their effect to the people of Colberia. Utilitarianism is in two parts, act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism. PharmaCARE justifies their immorality in using Colberian property rights using act-utilitarianism. PharmaCARE also generates unjust rules using rule-utility by subjecting the people of Colberia into torture while benefiting others. Using utilitarianism, the company's use of Colberian property rights is unethical.
Deontology and ethics refer to moral systems characterized by a focus towards moral rules or duties. It explains our duties and the rules available to regulate those duties. In simple terms, deontology explains that people are behaving morally if they follow their rules and immorally if they do not follow their duties. The duties in deontology are God given. In this respect, we obey God by following our duties and disobey Him if we go against these duties. PharmaCARE did not follow their duty in protecting the environment in Colberia. It is our duty to protect the environment for our benefit and future generations. It is unethical that PharmaCARE was negligent of the damage they cause to both the people and the environment in Colberia. Hurd (1996) notes that deontology implies carrying out actions that consider the consequences and not out of negligence.
Virtue ethics refer to the character-based ethics. This ethic looks at the moral character of a person carrying out an action or the consequences of the actions. Based on virtue ethics, PharmaCARE use of Colberia property rights is unethical. The executives of PharmaCare live a luxurious life in Colberia with their house having electricity and water connection while the Colberians have none of these. Individuals in PharmaCARE exploit the workers and mistreat them. The executive of the company do not practice the principles of virtue such as justice, care and prudence. The executives failed to understand that all human beings are the same and guided by the same set of virtues. Carden (2006) explains that, all human beings share certain natural conditions in order to survive in any environment.
Ethics of care
Ethics of care refers to the interdependence of all human beings. It takes into account the fact that communities in the world are not equal as others are more vulnerable. It requires individuals in the non-vulnerable community to take extra care in our actions to consider the vulnerable communities. PharmaCARE do not obey these ethics and exploit the people of Colberia. It is unethical that PharmaCare pays very little wages to the people of Colberia compared to the amount of work that they do. It is unethical because PharmCARE takes advantage of the vulnerability situation of the community in Colberia. PharmaCARE does not consider the effects of their actions to the surrounding community. Employees are subjected to harsh working environment because of their poverty and lack of important amenities.…