LCHM Summer 2017 - 30

PRACTICE
MANAGEMENT

ps:

Footste
Walking in Freeman's

S
E
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S
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A
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PHA
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K
I
H
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C
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P
IN
BY JONATHAN HUNT,
OF MEDICINE
AT LEWIS KATZ SCHOOL
T
EN
UD
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CA
DI
ME
FOURTH-YEAR
AT TEMPLE UNIVERSITY

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ver since I was four years old, I can society, both those embodied in law and of employees, and raises the price of other
recall my mother's constant ques- those embodied in ethical custom. Of course, products to customers - and thus is spending
tioning: "Jonathan, why isn't your other objectives may exist in the minds of their money. The shareholders, the employees,
bed made?" "Jonathan, why is your the business owners, but for the sake of and the customers are independently able
finger up your nose again?" "Jonathan, before simplicity we distinguish profit-seeking to spend their own money on a particular
you start, what do you hope to accomplish corporations from eleemosynary institutions. "social responsibility" if they wished to do so,
during this project/undertaking?" Actually, In 1970, Martin Friedman first defended the but, in this scenario, the CEO is spending
that last one turned out to be a pretty useful theory, stating that the moral obligation of their money in a potentially different way
habit to get into, and now I ask myself that a business is to increase its profits, and the than they would have spent it. Therefore, a
very same q uestion before any big endeavor, following logic is merely a summary and CEO acting in accord with his or her social
as I am surely not one to turn away from application of his original argument.
responsibility is, in effect, imposing taxes and
family tradition. Hence, I shall answer before
deciding how the tax proceeds shall be spent.
I proceed: my goal is to convince you that How would it hurt society to go
Martin Shkreli's Daraprim (pyrimethamine) against this obligation?
The process of imposing taxes and making
price hike, in itself, was not the most morally
So, Shkreli must act as an agent of his expenditures to foster one's social objectives
corrupt thing a pharmaceutical CEO could principal, or his corporation's owners. If is consistent with one of the underlying
do. I can already hear the "yeah, right" that we were to accept the assertion that the mechanisms of the political machinery,
just crossed every single reader's mind, so corporate executive has a moral obligation which typically requires a position of civil
please bear with me for one moment.
or social responsibility in his capacity as a servitude. By doing as such, the CEO is
businessman, what does this mean? Essen- acting as a public employee, even though he
What is the moral obligation of a
tially, this moral obligation implies that the remains in name an employee of a private
pharmaceutical company?
agent must act in some way that is not in enterprise and has not been elected by the
What do most people know about Shkreli? the interest of his employers. In Shkreli's stakeholders he may impact. Moreover,
He was the CEO, or corporate executive case, moral obligation holds that he is to such actions involve the acceptance of the
officer, of Turing Pharmaceuticals. A CEO refrain from increasing the price of a drug socialist view that political mechanisms, not
is hired as an employee of the owners of the in order to contribute to the social objective market mechanisms, are the appropriate
business, and thus he or she is the agent of of patient access to medicine, even though a way to determine the allocation of scarce
the individuals who own the corporation. price increase would be in the best interests resources to alternative uses.
Therefore, the CEO's primary responsibility of the corporation. In this case, the CEO is
is to conduct the business in accordance effectively spending someone else's money for
When political mechanisms drive a sociwith the owners' desires, which generally a general social interest. By acting in accord ety's market, the market becomes subject to
will be to make as much money as possible with his "social responsibility," he reduces the political principle of conformity, where
while conforming to the basic rules of the returns to shareholders, lowers the wages the individual must serve the general social
30 Lehigh County Health & Medicine | SUMMER 2017



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of LCHM Summer 2017

LCHM Summer 2017 - 1
LCHM Summer 2017 - 2
LCHM Summer 2017 - 3
LCHM Summer 2017 - 4
LCHM Summer 2017 - 5
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LCHM Summer 2017 - 32
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