The Ethics Sage Talks About Price Gouging

The Ethics Sage Talks About Price Gouging

The Ethics Sage latest post deals with price gouging in prescription medicine. He discusses the social responsibility of business and goes into some detail about his preference for a free market solution.

i_454I am more and more convinced as time has gone by that the pharmaceutical companies have failed in serving the public and that some kind of government intervention to prevent price gouging and selling prescription medicines for other than their FDA approved uses is going to necessary.

However, the Ethics Sage is worthy of reading. You should put him in your favorites, visit often and perhaps, even sign up as a follower.

Below is a selection from his latest essay. I recommend you visit his web site and read it in full.

James Pilant

http://www.ethicssage.com/2015/11/big-pharma-where-is-corporate-social-responsibility-with-high-drug-prices.html

Recently a group of 118 oncologists came out in an editorial in the Mayo Clinic medical journal to support a grassroots patient effort to push for fairer prices from drug companies. According to the editorial, many cancer patients are bankrupted by the high cost of care even for insured patients for treatment that costs $120,000 a year. The proposal is to get it down to $30,000 in out-of-pocket expenses – more than half the average U.S. household income. According to the editorial, the drugs are so high that as many as 20% of oncology patients don’t take their medication as prescribed. I believe it may be better to mandate catastrophic insurance coverage. Under Obamacare, if you are under 30 or obtained a “hardship exemption” you qualify for a high deductible, low premium, catastrophic plan. What about those over 30 who are more in need?

Greed is good. Greed is right. Greed works. These are the words spoken by Gordon Gekko in Wall Street. We could say this is the mantra of greedy CEOs of pharmaceutical companies. In a 2014 survey by Fierce Pharma, a news outlet for the industry, the average pay of the 10 top CEOs of big Pharma was about $30 million. None of the companies were in the Fortune top 100. Celgene was number 369, the highest in the industry. The CEO of Celgene earned $36.61 million. This seems out of line given the relatively small size of most pharmaceutical manufacturing companies.

Business Ethics Roundup 10/11/2011

1. The Ethics Sage has a new post on the civility movement at Harvard  entitled –

Harvard University Jumps on the Civility Bandwagon

Here’s a key paragraph:

The fact is administrators at Harvard are pressuring the Class of 2015 to do something no other student class has ever been asked to do in 375 years: Sign a civility pledge. The “Class of 2015 Freshman Pledge” was presented to students before an opening convocation last month. The message serves as a kind of moral compass for the education Harvard imparts. In the classroom, in extracurricular endeavors, and in Harvard Yard and Houses, students are expected to act with integrity, respect, and industry, and to sustain a community characterized by inclusiveness and civility. The “Pledge” idea seems a bit odd to me. Is Harvard saying its students have not acted civilly up until now? Has Harvard ignored civic virtue in its teachings?

It’s a good article. Certainly, I think a few more pledges in the direction of civility and morality are merited. The current American ethos seems to be heavily drawn from Milton Friedman and Gordon Gekko, in equal parts.

2. Professor Chris MacDonald writing in the Business Ethics Blog has an article intriguingly entitled –

Bullying in Pursuit of the Public Good

This would be my preference for the key paragraph – not as lively as some of the others but it contains the heart of the message – Don’t assume one side is right all the time.

Now most people are generally not very worried about major corporations, or large institutions of any kind, being bullied. And it’s easy enough to understand why. We’re usually more worried about corporations having too much power, rather than too little. But to uniformly celebrate victories of NGOs over corporations is to assume that NGOs are always right. And that’s a mistake. It’s also a mistake to assume that NGOs are in any important sense democratic, or automatically representative of the public interest.

3. Lauren Bloom writing in her blog has a new article called –

A Loving Tribute to Steve Jobs

This is the best paragraph –

But the thing that keeps coming to my mind as I think about Steve Jobs was his dedication to creating extraordinary products that inspired unprecedented customer devotion. Everyone uses cell phones, computers, and other portable electornic devices these days, but if I hear someone say they “absolutely love” one of those devices, more often than not it turns out to be an Apple product. And while cartoons aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, film buffs who enjoy animation typically love Pixar movies. One might disagree on which of Pixar’s films is the best (my personal favorite is Ratatouille but my brother lobbies hard for The Incredibles), but to my recollection, there’s been something to love about every movie Pixar has ever produced.

4. Josephson on Business Ethics and Leadership has an article called –

Hunger and Poverty: Consequences of deregulating food markets

Millions of poor people are starving in famines right now because the U.S. has relaxed regulations on commodities trading over the past 10 years. Into the breach have rushed financial companies like Goldman Sachs that poured millions of dollars into food commodities trading, in pursuit of short-term profits. In the process, they’ve created artificially soaring food prices that affect the whole world.

As went tech stocks in the 90s, and housing prices in the 00s, the price of food is now set on a financial bubble.  And human agony and death is the result.

I wish the author had developed the topic in more detail. I fell like I was in the middle of a good strong read and then was cut off in the middle.

James Pilant

 

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