The pharmaceutical industry has been playing an imperative role over the past century in contribution of individual, population and societal health. The services and products provided by the pharmaceutical industry has lend to longevity of life for the people identifying the various symptoms of major diseases in the patients. However, there have been concerns especially in the last two decades of the business model used by the pharmaceutical industry. There have been various concerns of the ethical behaviors of the pharmaceutical industry sales in regard into the way the physicians access and promote pharmaceuticals (Handley 2009).
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The pharmaceutical sales and promotions have developed and evolved for a long period of time where in the current period it has developed to be a persuasive filled with informational activities. There are various pharmaceutical organizations, who either engage in production or sales involved in the sales and promotional activities of pharmaceutical in their marketing strategies. For the purposes of increasing their sales the dealers in the pharmaceutical industry attempt to influence the supply, purchase and prescription of various prescription medical drugs to meet the demand in the market. The promotional activities by various pharmaceutical industries have been developed for the purposes of improving distribution channels of commercial and non-commercial prescription medical drugs (Tengilimoglu Kisa & Ekiyor 2004). This has raised various ethical concerns among various regulatory authorities such as the government and various clinical researchers.
The proliferation of various distribution channels and especially the unregistered channels pose a health hazard for the people depending on these drugs. There have been numerous claims of the breach of the medical ethical behavior by various pharmaceutical dealers (Wall & Brown 2002). For example, there have been concerns over the provision of fake drugs samples gift premiums and provision of misleading advertisements. In addition, there have been concerns over increased misguiding of the patients through provision of poor prescriptions and sending the wrong information about the products. The government plays an imperative role of protecting the consumers; hence, it has been on the forefront of emphasizing enforcement of code ethics by the pharmaceutical industry (Wündisch 2003).
However, the pharmaceutical dealers perceive these ethical considerations as hindrances of increased sales and competitiveness in the market. There have been various concerns over the commercial distribution channels used for the purposes of distributing fake drugs and samples in the market. This has led to increasing pressure on the regulatory authorities, for the imposition of strict pharmaceutical regulatory framework, which will facilitate curbing of all malpractices in the marketing strategies used for the medical products. For example, there has been an increasing debate, in the UK, about pharmaceutical marketing strategies used by various stakeholders in the medical services sector (Santoro & Gorrie 2005). Various stakeholders in the medical sector have questioned the influence of the pharmaceutical services provision of services to the public.
There has been increasing concerns that some of the marketing strategies used by pharmaceutical dealers are misleading to the public. This has led to concerns that such misleading strategies and practices in the pharmaceutical industry affect the public negatively, hence there is need to ban these misleading strategies adopted by the pharmaceutical industry. For example, the Bad Health IT (BHIT), which was developed due to poor information and computer system, which led to delays in the in provision of medicine for cancer patients (Lyon & Mirivel 2011). In addition, there was the GlaxoSmithKline drug scandal, where the organization was accused of advertising the antidepressant medicine meant for adults to underage people (Ball 2012). The practices in the pharmaceutical industry have been raising concerns over the history due to increasing malpractices. This has been due to the need of the pharmaceutical industries to increase their profitability and competitiveness in the market.
The pharmaceutical promotion, sales and marketing have been in conflict with the medical practices over times in history. The ethical concerns of the pharmaceutical industry and the practice of medicine have been characterized with increased conflict between pharmaceuticals activities and the medical practice (Brown 2006). The pharmaceutical industry has been characterized with increased promotional and sales activities in their urge to improve the sales and expand their market share. As a result, the organizations have exploited the modes used for dissemination of information to the public leading to creation of bias. This has led to increased endangering of the patients and public who depend on the information provided by these pharmaceutical industries. The manipulative promotional activities of the pharmaceutical industries have led to increased risks exposure to patients reducing the welfare of the patients (LeClaire 2013).
The basic role of physicians is to alleviate suffering of the people through provision of various medical services such as examination of the patients and offering prescriptions that improve the patient’s health. There is need for the provision of the right medication to patients but some of the physicians rely on the information provided by pharmaceuticals in offering prescriptions (Edwards Fletcher Anthony & Stonier 2007). Therefore, the physicians are mostly not informed on the various risks that the drug may pose to the patients. Some of the pharmaceutical organizations train their sales representatives on how to present deceiving information in the market about certain drugs. For example, in the US there was a controversy involving the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical firm, which designed, produced and sold the drug pain Vioxx. The organization has been under investigation by the congress and the general public over an increased number of patients using the drug diagnosed and dying of heart attacks (LeClaire 2013).
This has led to an increasing pressure in development of a code of conducts that can be followed pharmaceutical industries in promotion of ethical code of conduct. There is need to ensure that the pharmaceutical industries operate to benefit the patients. This can be through ensuring of ethical considerations and professional operations in transparent manner to ensure provision of the right medication to patients. This will lead to provision of high quality health care, through provision of appropriate medication (Griffin & O'Grady 2008). This led to establishment of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), which was developed to formulate the code of ethics for the pharmaceutical industry.
The code of conduct to be developed was to ensure coverage of all areas of operations of the pharmaceutical industry operations such as promotional activities to ensure provision of the right information to health providers and patients who purchase the medication. The code of conduct was also developed to ensure compliance to other international codes of conduct such as International Federation of Pharmaceuticals Manufacturers and Association (IFPMA) and World Health Organization (WHO) among others (Griffin 2009). The codes of conduct were developed to cover the various activities in the industry, which were essential in setting the standards in relation to provision of information to the public and the patients in general.
The creation of full self awareness among pharmaceutical representatives of the code of ethics as presented by the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), will lead to promotion of the right ethical standards by the pharmaceutical industry. The code of conduct as presented in the organization provides the right framework that can be used to ensure the right code of conduct of the pharmaceutical industries. It will ensure provisional of the right information to the public and the patients in general. In addition, it will ensure the right advertisements and promotional activities are carried out (Clark 2007).
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