Premium Essay


In: Business and Management

Submitted By twatwai
Words 14520
Pages 59
Ethics and the Conduct of Business, 7/e
©2012 / ISBN: 9780205053131

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Ethics in the World of Business

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CASE 1.1

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Merck and the Marketing of Vioxx
On September 30, 2004, Merck & Co. announced the withdrawal of Vioxx, its highly profitable pain reliever for arthritis sufferers, from the market.1 This announcement came only seven days after company researchers found in a clinical trial that subjects who used Vioxx more than 18 months had a substantially higher incidence of heart attacks. Merck chairman and CEO Raymond V. Gilmartin described the action as “the responsible thing to do.” He explained, “It’s built into the principles of the company to think in this fashion. That’s why the management team came to such an easy conclusion.”2 In the lawsuits that followed, however, damaging documents emerged casting doubt on Merck’s claim that it had acted responsibly by taking appropriate precautions in the development and marketing of the drug. For decades, Merck’s stellar reputation rested on the company’s emphasis on science-driven research and development. Merck employed some of the world’s most talented and best-paid researchers and led other pharmaceutical firms in the publication of scientific articles and the discovery of new medicines for the treatment of serious conditions that lacked a satisfactory treatment. For seven consecutive years in the 1980s, Merck was ranked by Fortune magazine...

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