In the medical field, medicine refers to something done or received in relation to the state of one’s health. Examples of such situations or circumstances include medical examination, tablets, injections, and any other items that help someone to feel better health wise. On the other hand, consumer goods refer to any concrete product bought by households to satisfy their needs and wants. In this case, consumer goods may be durable or nondurable. In understanding this subject better, durable goods have a significant life span, which could be up to more three years, while nondurable goods are meant for immediate consumption and their life span spreads from one minute to three years. In every sale and purchase of any good, there are factors and elements, which manage the processes. Ethics is one of these factors, which determines the process of sale and purchase of commodities. In this regard, the utmost debate revolves around the ethics behind consideration of medicine as a consumer good. In the recent past, there has been a notable increase in the sale of over the counter medicine, which leads to suggestion of the product being considered as a consumer good. Other people find this move ethically wrong, as medicine requires medical officers’ prescription before consumption. In this study paper, we explore the different views concerning the ethics of medicine as a consumer good.
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There have been recent proposals that medicine should fall under the category of consumer goods. After several analysis from consumers and medical professionals, the idea of medicine as a consumer good has become real. Conservatives in this field argue that the major solution behind people’s health care issues will rely on the consumer power. Rating medicine as a consumer good gives consumers the power to aggressively seek for medical care hence promoting the providers and third party payers of such services to compete for the business. The medical field has been monopolized for a frightfully long time, and this is because of the idea of medicine as a special product. People facing financial constraints end up not getting proper medical services because of the costs involved. One has to consult a professional doctor in order to know which medicines to take and this call for finances. Rating medicine as a consumer good comes with benefits such as cutting the doctor’s services. When it comes to prescribing drugs, varied people, who are not professional medics, can play this role. For instance, pharmacists can prescribe drugs just as medics hence, no need for restrictions on the medicine consumption (Murray, Pollack & Lee, 2004).
However, the opposing view of the main subject finds it ethically wrong to consider medicine as a consumer good. Medicine cannot be just any other consumer good because of the various professionalism and critical life conditions involved. People of this opinion base their argument on the advertising aspects of consumer goods. For most, if not all, consumer goods, there is advertising, which helps in promotion and marketing of the products. The main aim of this advertisement procedure is to create awareness amongst the consumers and hence, increase the sales. However, for the medicine products, advertising will be ethically wrong. The consumption of medical products occurs only under defined circumstances and requires professional advice before consumption. Categorizing medicine as consumer goods will mean allowing advertising of medicine through the various medium. Although ethically wrong, the present advertisement market prescription drugs directly to the public. In most cases, this is by portraying beautiful, happy people in euphoric situations asserting the use of expensive medication hence their perfect lives. These forms of advertisements of medicine can be misleading to the public (Rosenthal, Berndt & Donohue, 2002). People will consume such prescriptions without consulting their professional medics, and this can be harmful to their health, body, and lives. The second argument against consideration of medicine as consumer goods is the composition of most medicine. The manufacture of medicine comprises of various components, which require professional advice before consumption. These components and elements in the medicine products may be detrimental to the users if consumed without care. Therefore, it will be ethically wrong to consider medicine as a consumer good.
From whichever perspective people view this subject, it remains ethically wrong to consider medicine as a consumer good. There is a weighty reason as to why the society has medical ethics and medics have been influential people of the society. For instance, this ideology has led to the production of series about heroic doctors and not middlemen in medicine field. Mostly, the basis of categorizing medicine as a distinct product is the professional ground and health impact. People seek medical services not because of their financial capacity but because of their need. In this case, their needs push them to seek medical services and mostly they have no idea of their problems. Doctors play the role of identifying the serious health problem in patients. In the same way, people trust the doctors’ judgment, so should we trust the professional advice on what to consume medically (Findlay, 2000).
In the above discussion, both parties have substantial arguments. However, the idea of categorizing medicine as a consumer product is ethically wrong because the product directly deals with people’s lives and health. More so, not everybody can diverse in the medical field. There is a reason for division of study fields and it are logical to allow every professional to perform their duties. Trying to play the role of a medic will only increase health care issues as there will be several cases of wrong medication and ignorance. In the event the set laws are restrict, then the relevant medical officer should strive to make better laws but not to allow the medicine to be consumer goods. As it is now, there have been several cases of misused over the counter drugs such as addiction.
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