Case Study: Merck's Treatment For River Blindness

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Merck & Company invested millions of dollars to develop a treatment for river blindness, a disease of the developing world that has infected 18 million people and poses a risk for 127 million people. River blindness is caused by the bite of black flies that deposit larvae of a parasite under the skin of their victims. When the larvae mature into adult worms, the adults reproduce millions of the immature forms of the parasites that migrate throughout the tissues of the body causing severe and never-ending itching and lesions in the skin. These parasites eventually reach the eyes causing an inflammatory reaction that slowly destroys the eye tissue. Victims of the disease are unable to be productive. The disease is especially prevalent in areas of Africa and South America. In Cameroon, for instance, 95% of the children between the ages of 5 and 7 who were examined carried the parasite. Because of the devastation the disease causes, Merck decided to produce it even though it would not financially profit from doing so. When no government or aid organization stepped forward to…show more content…
The investors are impacted by this quandary in how the company might not recuperate the money invested and the investors might never see a profit. The company has a responsibility to ensure that the company stays profitable and that the investors see a return on their investors. The scientists are involved by the fact that they are the employees researching the drug and are therefore most involved in this. The company also has an obligation to the scientists to provide the resources needed to continue their research. The consumers are affected by this situation in that, if the drug is researched, then they can be cured from, or even avoid getting, the disease. The company is impacted in a way similar to the investors. The company might not ever recover the investment due to not making a

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