Merck Company, one of the largest pharmaceutical company in the world, commenced major research to develop a new drug. The company undertook this major decision because two of its best-seller drugs were about to go off patent. Merck developed a drug that had the capability of curing a rare disease which resulted in blindness in people. Ivermectin is the drug that the Merck Company found, that showed a promise of curing the rare disease. Nevertheless, the company had a big problem regarding the drug they found out, the cost of marketing and testing the drug was very high. Furthermore the resources that were available were limited, and those people who were in need of the discovered drug were in poor parts of the world, mostly in the developing countries. But the company never cared for the profits instead they cared for the people as the founder of the Merck company states that "We try never to forget that medicine is for people. It is not for the profits. The profits follow, and if we have remembered that, they never failed to appear. The better we have remembered that, the larger we have been."(Trevino, 2014, p. 345).This paper aims to identify the problems that existed and try to find a solution to them for the Merck Company to be able to grow and make sure the drugs discovered had to reach the large population that was poor but needed the drugs.
Merck's decision to pursue the research was a complicated decision and also investing a lot of money in the study was another critical element, and yet they were not sure if it could yield something out of it. The company investing its dollars and time to the project to find a cure which had a promise was part of the company's priority regarding making money to ensure that the company's existence continues to continue to alleviate human suffering in the world. The company made a very fine choice because the disease was rare where buy the drug company's investment could not have been recoupled because of the existence of the condition and yet the company invested a lot of money on the research to find a cure for the disease. The money spent in this project could not be recoupled because there was a small number of people who could buy the drug that had been invented by the company. Therefore, it was a huge problem to the company considering its existence and paying off its researchers such as the doctors and other employees. Furthermore, when Merck developed the drug that could combat river blindness, those individuals who were suffering from the disease were a significant number but from the poorest parts of the world and hence they could not be able to pay for the medication and yet they were suffering hence the company was in a dilemma.
The value system of Merck Company is to help a lot of people not just about the profits they make. George Merck who is the chairman of the company, his father alluded that, "We try never to forget the medicine is for the people. It is not for the profit" (Trevino, 2014, p.345). The company had to invest more in the drugs although they knew very well that the profits were very minimal. Therefore the main company concern is to try as much as possible to alleviate the human suffering in the world by investing in research to find the cure for the river blindness. Therefore, from their philosophy, people come first before profits are very encouraging, and thus their investment on the drugs is recommendable and acting on it is seen as a huge step in alleviating the human suffering. Moreover, the company wants to create a good reputation from the public and hence when the company creates a drug mainly for profit and not for the people is establishing a bad reputation because it goes against their values as mentioned earlier that they value the people first and other things follow. The decision is a hard one, and concerning the company, it also has to make profits to be able to continue to prosper. Similarly, Merck's value system is what the primary stakeholders, investors, employees, and stockholders believe in. For that reason, the decision to invest in the research is well accepted by all in the organization.
Though the company has limited resources to carry out the testing and marketing of the drug that showed promise of curing the disease they should use the resources they have well to come up with the cure. The firm should follow the idea of "Do well by doing good," Therefore, the relationship of the company with stakeholders and the community in large is very vital for the financial performance of the company. Philanthropy also contributes significantly to the organization and Merck had to embrace philanthropic work which adds immensely to the bottom line of a firm hence it helps to create a brand for the company. Furthermore, the customers will be more likely to associate themselves with the company because of its generosity and caring for the human race. The company utilizing the available resources and investing in research for the cure of river blindness will be of great benefit to ending the human suffering. Besides, the philanthropic work of Merck will lead to more financial support and cooperation from the key stakeholders who will boost the financial performance of the firm leading to the success of the organization and be able to realize its dream. Even if the drug has a promise of curing the disease the drug which will be a small percentage that could cure the disease but as far as the small portion is working it could save a lot lives in the world and hence create an excellent reputation for the firm.
Stakeholders are vital in any organization, therefore, Merck &Co. Stakeholders' decision on the matter affected many lives in the world, and the outcome of their decision was very essential in carrying their obligation as a company that was more focused on the people rather than on the profits. The stakeholders who included the customers, shareholders and employers sacrifice through cooperation and support of the project to research finding the cure for the drug was a great step forward to the business. The stakeholders in the Merck Company were the individuals affected by the river blindness disease, George W. Merck who was the CEO of the company, the consumers, and the employee's decision was critical to the research. The company decided to manufacture and distribute the drug for free would be a massive boost to a considerable number of people who are not able to afford to purchase the drug and hence it will create an excellent reputation to the company (Brown, 2013). The stakeholders and the company decided to invest in carrying out the research will be used as the drug discovered would be sufficient and would benefit a large number of people because a single dose of the drug could kill the parasites that are inside the body of a human being.
It is not an obligation for the Merck to proceed with the development of the cure for the river blindness disease but if they do it result in an excellent reputation for the company as the research found out that, "A reputation for higher corporate social performance is associated with decreased firm financial risk. Therefore the research has demonstrated that companies with good corporate governance structures and policies," (Trevino, 2014, p. 340). If the company can be able to share its information to the public regarding the drug and their financial performance it can result to donation from the public. The company following corporate social responsibility can be of great help to the people who are infected by the rare disease. Also, Gavin Anderson alludes that, "Before investing in a company, wary investors should search for a pattern of previous litigation and regulatory problems. The pattern shows that the firm has a culture that tolerates unethical and illegal behavior should be avoided." The reputation of the company will be boosted because of its ethical and corporate social responsibility and hence in future, and the company will attract a large number of investors in it.
Merck Company could have been able to carry out a philanthropic work which could see them get more support from the stakeholders and employees in large. Also, if the company could have been able to find a cure for the river blindness there is a large number of people from the poor parts of the world could not afford to purchase the drug. Therefore, the company could distribute the drug-free to the people. Hence it would have helped those people who were unfortunate to acquire the drug.it could solve the ethical dilemma that Merck was experiencing because the drug was available but no one was buying due to the poverty level. Hence giving it freely could result in alleviating the human suffering of the people which is by the Merck's value system.
Secondly, the company should donate the drug to the people for free, and the cost of the donation will be incurred by the customers who are loyal to the Merck Company and hence resulting to low cost on the company. When a company decides to donate the Avermectin drug which is now known as Mectizan, it will be able to eliminate the river blindness which affects around 20 million people from Africa and hence it will reduce the 100 million people who are at risk of being infected by the disease in the area. The selfless acts of the company to manufacture the drug and distribute it free aligns with corporate social responsibility, and hence it will help to save lives although it may not be able to make a lot of profits as it is a policy for many corporate organizations.
Furthermore, the company should reach out for the support from the third party such as the United States Senate. The attempts can be effective and yield more fruits as the Senate can sponsor the project and cheap in finance to carry out the research and be able to alleviate the lives of the poor who are in need of the drug. Also, other third-party options can be the leading organizations in the Country and the U.N for support because river blindness disease had been declared a killer disease in the developing countries mostly in Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.
Lastly, the company after creating the cure because it is more concerned with the people and not profits should sell the drug to another company that is not in the country that values the drug. Even if we try to say we must concentrate on the philanthropic work, it is clear that every firm is here to make a profit. Merck will have done its social responsibility by making sure it has created the drug, and they will be able to reward themselves by selling the drug to another pharmaceutical company that may have better use of the drug.
The company continuing the research for the development of the cure for river blindness is an ethical thing because they are finding a cure for the people who are infected and they are concerned. Although the research is very costly, Merck aim is to reduce suffering for a large number of people who are very poor but in need of the drug. Furthermore, Merck values the people more than the profits hence the company should be more focused on research to find the cure for the disease.
Brown, J. A., & Forster, W. R. (2013). CSR and stakeholder theory: A tale of Adam Smith. Journal of business ethics, 112(2), 301-312.
Trevino, L. K., & Nelson, K. A. (2014). Managing business ethics: Straight talk about how to do it right (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Chapters 9-11
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