According to Trevino and Nelson (2011), stakeholders refer to individuals or parties affected by an organization’s business and actions. Additionally, stakeholders also have an interest in what the business does and how it carries out its activities (Trevino and Nelson, 2011). The stakeholders in this situation include the people suffering from onchocerciasis or river blindness, World Health Organization, shareholders of the Merck and Co, the employees of the company, their families, the media, and the government. Role-playing would be used as a means of understanding the ethical dilemma at hand (Trevino and Nelson, 2011). That is what it would feel like to be in someone else’s position. From the perspective of the people affected from the situation, most harm would come to the poor people suffering from the disease if the company chooses not to do research on the drug. Consequently, identification of the consequences, whether good or bad, would be effective in trying to get to know the stakeholder that would be most distressed by the decision to follow. The people suffering from the disease are also the ones to benefit mostly if the company chooses to carry out research and develop a drug that can cure them. This approach would be the consequentialist approach (Trevino and Nelson, 2011). Additionally, the company’s philosophy is another guide on how to rank the stakeholders. This implies that the company puts more value in human life than profits.
Investing in search a research project for a cure for river blindness has significant potential benefits. One of the benefits involves the discovery of a new drug that can cure and save lives. Additionally, the research will lead to ensuring that any potential harmful side effects that may affect humans are eliminated. Furthermore, if the investment proves to be successful in developing a new drug as a cure for the disease, corporations and governments of different countries may seek to sponsor the company in developing and facilitating distribution of the drug. The company’s image may be strengthened. This will be through increasing trust in its potential customers, since the company believes in its philosophy on bettering the lives of human beings. Subsequently, sales are likely to increase for its other products. Investing in developing such a drug could also boost the company in terms of public relations (Campos, Lee, Nomanbhoy and Park, 2011). The company’s brand could be associated with social responsibility and integrity. Such an investment might increase the company’s performance. This may result in the company being highly considered when bidding for government and other public contract jobs. Moreover, Merck can be able to distinguish itself from other business competitors in the pharmaceutical industry and create for itself a niche where other competitors cannot participate (Campos, Lee, Nomanbhoy and Park, 2011).
Potential costs include the high production cost that the company will incur from the investment. Additionally, such an investment might be prove to be costly in case the research proves the drug not to be healthy for human use. Moreover, the company is faced with the challenge of making profits. If the drug proves to be useful and healthy for human consumption, the big market for the drug is poor people living in Africa. Such a move may not be beneficial to the shareholders.
Merck can certainly justify its investment decision to the shareholders. Firstly, based on the organization's philosophy of help people medically, their decisions need to be focused on this if they are to attain their mission. Secondly, Merck can be able to provide possible benefits that may come from such an investment. This include public relations such social responsibility, which seems to influence and increase performance of the companies (Trevino and Nelson, 2011). In addition, potential partnerships may emerge that may seek to alleviate costs associated with the production of drugs. Further, partnerships between the public and private sector may increase and improve human health worldwide (Sturchio, 2001). The core criteria to be used in arriving at such a decision would be first to focus on the company’s philosophy. Secondly, helping the shareholders see what potential benefits result from the investment especially in boosting the company’s performance plays a significant part.
After conducting research, Merck decided to donate the drug, Mectizan to treat river blindness (UNICEF, 2012). This was a humanitarian act as it provided product donations of Mectizan to UNICEF to help support the fight against river blindness. Currently, Merck and Co., Inc continues to collaborate with the U.S. Fund to fight river blindness. Since 1988, there have been over 600 million treatments that have been approved from the drug use (UNICEF, 2012). Every year the treatment using the drug reaches almost 80 million people Middle East, Africa, and Latin America (Sturchio, 2001). This case study on the Merck Company provides a lot of information especially on corporate social responsibility and ethical decision-making. This serves as a good example from which other organizations can learn.
Campos, T.O., Lee, S.W., Nomanbhoy, M. & Park, J. (2011). Mectizan: A Game Theory
Analysis. Retrieved from http://faculty.haas.berkeley.edu/rjmorgan/mba211/2011%20Mid%20Semester%20Projects/Yankees%2027%20Midterm%20Paper%20Vfinal.pdf
Sturchio, J.L. (2001). The Case of Ivermectin: Lessons Learned and Implications for Improving
Access to Care and Treatment in Developing Countries. Retrieved from http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/trips_e/hosbjor_presentations_e/21sturchio_e.doc
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UNICEF (2012). Merck supports the worldwide fight against river blindness. Retrieved from