Reference no: EM13775749
In the fall of 2001, anthrax was used as a weapon of terror in the United States when it was sent to numerous media and political organizations and individuals, including Tom Brokaw of NBC News, Dan Rather of CBS News, and U.S. Senators. According to a report from the CDC, 22 people were infected with the anthrax spores that were mailed out in two separate attacks, and of those, five persons died. (CDC) Fortunately, for many of the victims, once it was established and known that anthrax was the cause of the illnesses (and deaths), Bayer was able to provide for sale to the victims and to others who feared becoming victims a drug they had invented and patented called "Cipro." Bayer, AG is a German company, which has plants in various countries, including the United States.
Bayer was founded in 1863, and is well known for its trademarked "aspirin" (1899), but not so prominently known for its trademark of heroin in 1900, marketing it for decades as a children's cough medicine. During the first and second world wars, Bayer was involved in chemical warfare manufacturing, and has spent a considerable amount of time and money overcoming some of the repercussions of their involvement in those wars and the atrocities which occurred during them. Despite this, they remain a well-respected name brand in many households throughout the world. (GMWatch) Bayer had paid reparations after World War II and had its patent for aspirin stripped from it and awarded to a U.S. company due to its involvement with the World Wars. Bayer wasn't allowed to even use its name until the year 2000, and so during the anthrax crisis, it kept a low profile as a deliberate means to avoid appearing "exploitative of the problem" of the anthrax scare in the United States.
Once the anthrax scare happened, however, Cipro went into high demand, and people all over North America were stockpiling the drug, making it even more scarce and driving up the cost. Because only people with prescriptions could purchase the drug in the United States, Mexican pharmacies capitalized on the market and starting selling it to U.S. citizens for a huge profit. Canada became frustrated with Bayer's refusal to answer their questions about its ability to meet production needs in the event the anthrax crisis went global. It suspended Bayer's patent and ordered other drug companies to produce their generic formulas. Bayer immediately threatened such companies with litigation in the event they violated the patent on Cipro. (Jennings) The U.S. Congress began considering suspending the Cipro patent as well. The CDC announced a warning to people stockpiling Cipro that it was a dangerous drug with serious side effects, which people should not use without medical supervision.
Many argued that the U.S. suspension threat was simply used to negotiate down the price of Cipro, and in fact, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson was instrumental in these negotiations. At no time during the situation was Bayer unable to fulfill the orders or needs for Cipro. Bayer had $1 billion in Cipro sales in the year prior to the anthrax attacks (Herper, 2001). At the time of the crisis, Bayer's statement of corporate values was: Our goals are to steadily increase corporate value and generate a high value added for the benefit of our stockholders, our employees and the community in every country in which we operate. We believe that our technical and commercial expertise involves responsibility to work for the common good and contribute to sustainable development. (Jennings, 2008) Now, more than a decade after the crisis, you can review Bayer's newer mission and values statements on their U.S. website (http://www.bayer.com/en/mission---values.aspx). Let's discuss this scenario using the ethical dilemma resolution models and the information about social responsibility in our text, as well as using the International Code of Ethics Article that can be found in Doc Sharing, as authored by Marianne Jennings, a noted ethics and legal professor.
References: Herper, M. (2001, October 17). Cipro, Anthrax And The Perils Of Patents. Forbes. Retrieved from: http://www.forbes.com/2001/10/17/1017cipro.html (Accessed on 3/31/2012); Holmes, P. (2001, November 19). Bayer Responds to Cipro Crisis. Retrieved March 31, 2012, from http://www.holmesreport.com/opinion-info/1346/Bayer-Responds-to-Cipro-Crisis.aspx; Why an International Code of Ethics Would Be Good for Business.docx; Smeltzer, Larry R.; Jennings, Marianne M. (2008); Jennings, M. (2007). Business: Its Legal, Ethical, and Global Environment (8th ed., p. 74). South Western Educational Publishing.; Jernigan et al. (2002). Investigation of Bioterrorism-Related Anthrax, United States, 2001: Epidemiologic Findings. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 8(10). Retrieved March 31, 2012 from http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/8/10/02-0353_article; Bayer: A history. (n.d.). Retrieved March 31, 2012, from http://www.gmwatch.org/gm-firms/11153-bayer-a-history.
-1-How should Bayer's statement of corporate responsibility and their mission statement ("Bayer: Science For A Better Life.") impact its corporate responsibility in the anthrax situation? Specifically, do Bayer's corporate values guide the company as to what its social responsibilities should be with regard to its Cipro product? Why or why not?
-2-How should the Bayer's statement of corporate responsibility and their mission statement ("Bayer: Science For A Better Life.") impact its corporate responsibility in the anthrax situation? Specifically, do Bayer's corporate values guide the company as to what its social responsibilities should be with regard to its Cipro product? Why or why not?
-3-As you think about this situation, actually go back in time to the fall of 2001. Ultimately, the anthrax attacks were not widespread and Bayer was able to keep up with its orders for Cipro, but those are facts we know now that the situation is over (hindsight is 20/20, right?). At the time this occurred, people were scared, some were even panicked. They had no idea who was sending the Anthrax or how widespread the attacks would be or how many more people would die. If a company has developed a drug (like Cipro) that would be necessary in some type of widespread outbreak or attack, isn't that company almost guaranteed that the greatest demand for their product will be in some type of an emergency situation (like the one that occurred in the U.S.)? If so, shouldn't that company then be prepared to react swiftly including communicating clearly with those who need the drug?