River Blindness Case Study

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An ethical dilemma is a situation in which a decision must be made between two choices that may produce conflicting results. Ethical dilemmas require compromising ethical principles regardless of which option is selected. As such, the decision made is never classified as being perfect (Allen, 2012). One such dilemma arose from Onchocerciasis, also known as river blindness. River blindness is a disease that affects one’s skin and eyes causing skin infections and permanent blindness. This disease mainly affects persons living in Africa as well as South and Central America. Statistics show that over thirty million persons have been affected. The disease is caused by a parasitic worm that is transmitted through the of bite black fly. These flies live along river banks and as a result, persons evacuated these areas for arid regions…show more content…
Inc., a large pharmaceutical product and service company. The dilemma arose in the 1970s when a potential breakthrough was discovered for river blindness. They had developed and produced a drug for animals named Invermectin. It was discovered that this drug could also cure river blindness however a safe and effective human version would have to be created. The costs were then weighed and the person who stood to benefit from the drugs would not be able to afford it even if was sold at cost. Producing the drug on the other hand would be a scientific breakthrough for the pharmaceutical industry and lead to further development of drugs for other diseases. Merck then had to decide if they should abandon the drug altogether as it would be a financial loss or produce it and eliminate the disease and relieve tormented victims. It should be noted that either option chosen would be classified as ethical. There was no law that required Merck to produce the drug although societal backlash would be a consequent. However, choosing the alternative of financing the drug would cause disapproval from

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