A company is developing a new drug which it expects will significantly reduce the disease known as rheumatism. The company has conducted many tests on the drug. One of the scientists is concerned that there are some side effects which have not been fully investigated. The company requests a confidential report from a number of other scientists about these side effects. The scientists are paid $500,000 each to investigate the drug and compile the report. These scientists are also required to sign a document promising that they will not disclose the content of their report to anyone except the Board of Directors of the company. The new confidential report indicates that side effects do occur but they are statistically small. All the Directors agree to keep the information about the side effects of the new drug confidential. The Board of Directors are confident the new drug will significantly increase the profits of the company and keep the shareholders happy. The company continues to develop the new drug and subsequently markets it.
Discuss the ethical issues in this scenario. Use relevant cases and principles.
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