Lessons on ethical decision making from the bioscience industry

plos.gifFrom the current issue of PLoS Medicine:

Mackie JE, Taylor AD, Finegold DL, Daar AS, Singer PA. Lessons on ethical decision making from the bioscience industry. PLoS Medicine 2006; 3(5). [free full text]

Excerpt:  Ethical issues are a growing concern for companies, in the wake of a series of corporate governance scandals and the accompanying sharp decline in societal and investor trust in firms. Some companies have responded to these concerns by creating internal ethics programs. In the aerospace sector, for example, companies have focused these efforts on ensuring compliance with government regulations, while in the energy sector, ethics initiatives have concentrated on environmental issues and corporate and social responsibility.

Companies in pharmaceutical, biotech, and bioagricultural industries must not only comply with a wide array of government regulations and balance the profit motive with social responsibility, but also must deal with the complex array of ethical issues raised by doing business in the biosciences. These complex issues include the production and sale of genetically modified foods; gene therapy experiments and embryonic stem cell research to produce new therapies; animal testing for pharmaceuticals; drug pricing at home and in developing countries; the potential misuse of personal genetic information; how to appropriately commercialize and profit from genetic and biological samples; and the creation of transgenic animals for drug production.


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