Module 6 Case Response


Consider the AIDS and River Blindness cases. Merck ultimately decided to distribute the drug themselves instead of making the patent available for generic use (as suggested in the AIDS case). According to UNICEF, they have donated over 2 billion Mectizan pills and over 80 million people are treated annually.

  1. Given that Merck is using corporate funds for this program, is Merck’s donation of these drugs morally acceptable? Morally required? Explain using one of our theories of corporate moral responsibility.
  2. Do Merck’s stockholders have any cause to complain when Merck spends their money on these ventures which are not aimed at profit?
  3. If this action is morally acceptable (or required) for Merck, then would similar charitable actions be acceptable (or required) for other companies that produce products which would benefit impoverished people? (Ex. food companies, clothing companies, water filtration tech companies, etc) Explain.
  4. If this action is morally unacceptable, then what makes it unacceptable?